Wrapping up February
Sick days are hard. But when the sick days turn into a sick month, it becomes a bit of long slog for everyone in the family! My Daughter and family have experienced colds, ear infections, pink eye, fevers, vomiting, etc. since the beginning of this month and I am sure she is ready to wrap it up!
Wisdom: Leaping Forward
Did you know the verb form of resilience is resile - me, neither! Resile (ree-zil) is derived from the Latin word resilire which means to leap back.
Leaping back is certainly an aspirational image for practicing resilience, but sometimes we can only look in the direction of a leap away from our difficulties and challenges. And all of us need to know where we are going to leap - just returning to a starting point does not really capture the full idea of resilience as being able to withstand life's challenges while moving on. Resilience is a bit more like Michael Kane's "use the difficulty" approach to life - whatever it throws at you, use it!
While I would not go so far as to say my Daughter and family have leapt back yet to pre-sicky days, I can say they are ready to move forward. Even now, while still sick, Daughter reflects on weeks of sickness and how to prevent or minimize so many illnesses in a month's time. This is a lived-resilience - one might even say it's the wisdom to leap forward rather than leap back!
Whatever life is throwing at you just now, I hope you are able to move forward and that you are supported by family & friends.
Hang on, February is just about wrapped up,
Socially Appropriate Observational Comments
In India long ear hair is respected; not so much here in the United States. My Daughter recently shared with me a story which she said was quite humbling as a parent:
Daughter was picking up Little Guy from school and buckling him in his car-seat at car line. And as she was leaning across him, he exclaimed quite loudly,
I'm sure the laughter was spontaneous because kiddos will always say the most socially inappropriate thing at just the wrong time with as much volume as possible.
And I don't share this story to further embarrass my sweet Daughter, but to remind her she is amazingly resilient! While it may have been slightly mortifying in the moment, retelling the story to us indicates our Daughter's sense of self is strong enough to withstand even a pre-schooler's surprised observation.
And I hope she is not so much humbled by Little Guy's surprise as she is proud of his observational skills.
Reframing is important - as is learning socially appropriate observational comments!
Reframing, aka Transforming the Story
I also share Daughter's story because over at Stories Matter resilience is the focus for the Heart of Winter - and the children's books reviewed were chosen to help parents with the process of teaching the habits necessary to develop strong resilience muscles. The ability to reframe an incident is quite similar to the habit of transforming a story or changing the narrative. And I think it's one of the more important of the five habits to teach your kiddo.
Five Resilience-Building Habits for Children
Reframe with Story-Telling
As an elementary/middle school principal, I used "story-telling" to help children in the midst of conflict. Children sent to the principal's office for less-then-admirable behavior were usually fearful and angry in addition to the emotions going on about whatever happened! I found it helpful to talk about the incident or behavior as if it was a story by asking each child - one-to-one in my office - to tell me the story of what happened with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
The most fascinating part of the process is that when multiple children would tell a "story" about what happened, the stories were often quite similar, but diverged when I asked the "backwards" questions! These questions always focused on a different outcome to the incident and what the student talking could have done differently. And this is where students began to re-frame their own story.
Here are the questions I would ask first -
The Backwards Questions
Here are the "backwards" questions -
The Magical Part I Miss Most
The magical part? Almost every time, even with the youngest children, the student would understand their own part in the "story!" And when correction was warranted on my part, the student often knew before I did what needed to happen!
Helping a child to re-frame or transform their story is a win-win every time.
Being retired is wonderful for so many great reasons, but I often miss helping children understand they are in charge of their own stories. And that they hold they power to change them when necessary.
You've got this,