Dear Fellow Resilience Warrior.
In case you are looking around for a “Warrior,” that is YOU! We are all warriors — whether wearing the cloth of our nation in harm’s way, or perhaps a mom with three in diapers, or possibly a businessman struggling to make payroll for his deserving employees, or you name it!
We are all warriors — warriors fight (for the right causes), warriors get wounded (that’s why they call it war!), and warriors bounce back to fight again (that’s what warriors do!).
This edition, entitled “Growing Children Who Bounce,” will address a particular kind of warfare called “parenting.” While parenting is often joyful and rewarding, sometimes it is challenging and stretches us to our very limits. To be inclusive here, even if you are not a parent, you very likely are “parenting” someone through the tough challenges of growing up in a culture which often subverts your best efforts. In many cases, the person you are “parenting” may be in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. Whatever the case, parenting is often a contact sport.
So let’s discuss a particular parenting question today — “How does one raise resilient children?” Associated questions might be: Why do our children need to be resilient? What is the primary training ground for resilience? — Aren’t they learning that in school? How do we help our children develop Resilience God Style? Our feature article will address this relevant topic is detail.
Illustrating our favorite Tennis Ball v Egg analogy, here is the primary resilience passage out of the Bible:
Hence, are we raising tennis balls or eggs? Are WE a tennis ball or an egg? Tapping other analogies, are our children able to take a licking and keep on ticking? Are they able to bend and not break?
This edition also has the normal “Bounce Builder” question for discussion with family and friends, as well as the pre-Christmas discount offered in the Resources Section — $10 off on the tabletop Resilience Training Game w/ Promo Code “FAM2”. I am prayerful that you will use this game to GROW RESILIENT CHILDREN as you navigate the inevitable challenges which the New Year will bring. Try it, you’ll like it.
Our Resilience God Style website (newsletter tab) has an archive of all past RGS newsletter content archived for your future reference, or for you to share with others.
Be assured of my prayers and cheers as you get ready, weather, and bounce back from the small and large storms of life. May you be Resilient – God Style!
I hope to hear some of YOUR thoughts about this important subject.
Respectfully in Christ,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
Growing Children Who Bounce
The game was close — middle of the 4th Quarter — the high school football teams were tied — one of my teen grandsons was in the game. Our team runs a wide sweep with a jarring tackle near their own bench — suddenly the tackle turns into a fight which turns into a mini-brawl between the teams. We’ve seen it happen before — I know I was involved in such frays as a teen football player.
So what happens? The coaches sort out the two teams, identify the primary offenders, put them on the bench or out of the game, talk to their respective teams during this teachable moment, give a thumbs up to the referees, and play on. RIGHT? WRONG!
Almost unbelievably, the coaches started yelling at each other. While it was difficult to see the exact deliberations from the stands, suddenly the coaches and their teams ran off the field. They had called the game! Instead of using the dustup to reinforce sportsmanship, conflict resolution, and resilience; the coaches had thrown in the towel. Subsequent reports from the locker room were even worse, with the coach “influencers” venting about all the wrong things, demonstrating toxic reactions that we should never model for growing children and teens.
The incident was apparently too much for fragile and increasingly entitled players, as well as too much for coaches who lacked the maturity and perspective to turn the obstacle into an opportunity. Instead of resolving the conflict, learning, and moving forward; the path chosen was the equivalent of dysfunctional “emotional cutoff” instead of healthy conflict resolution.
Regrettably, this true vignette is a microcosm of our culture today. On a national scale, we have far fewer parents, coaches, teachers, and others who teach our children how to deal with the inevitable disappointments, failures, and conflicts in life.
Resilience is a critical life skill to be taught and learned from the cradle forward, yet such resilience is becoming rarer by the day. The negative outcome is children who don’t learn at a young age to navigate the small disappointments of life. This cascades into teens and young adults who are emotionally handicapped, unable to resolve relational tensions in healthy ways, unable to entertain civil discussion with opposing views, and unable to withstand major life challenges. In short, we are raising too many eggs. “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall” … and you know the rest.
In No Safe Spaces (pages 126,127), Dennis Prager and Mark Joseph describe the phenomenon and its causes well:
“You’ve heard of helicopter parents who hover over their children, eager to rescue them from the slightest misfortune, haven’t you? That’s nothing compared to another recent trend: bulldozer parents. Bulldozer parents clear the way for their children, pushing aside any obstruction. When their precious little snowflake angel gets a D in algebra, the parents rush to the school and demand to know why. They blame the teacher instead of encouraging their own child to study harder and get better at math.
“Kids pick up on subtle messages more than we realize, including the lessons that parents teach with this kind of behavior. By the time they graduate high school, they have had it drilled into their mushy little heads that they are perfect creatures: the pinnacle of the universe’s machinations.
“After eighteen years of this, kids head off to colleges and universities that have abandoned their original mission of rigorous academic inquiry in favor of politically correct culture. … Those children go to college with the expectation that they’ll be handled with kid gloves, so schools become even more politically correct. The cycle continues, getting worse with each generation.
“Schools erase Shakespere from their English curricula and America’s Founding Fathers from their history classes for the same reason youth sports leagues stop keeping soccer scores: they don’t want anyone feeling hurt or left out. And in both cases, handling the children with such over-the-top care and attention creates an unearned sense of entitlement. If you try to prevent students from dealing with difficulty, soon they begin to expect (nay, demand) that level of comfort.”
While MUCH more could be written and discussed about this concerning cultural trends, let’s think about “what right looks like” as we seek to “Grow Children That Bounce.” Here are five suggestions (among many that we all could identify):
1. Be Intentional. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” A goal of parenting should be to intentionally train our children about the reality of adversity and the existence of principles (Biblical and otherwise) which enhance resilient responses. Use resilience resources (such as the RGS series) and every day “teaching moments” to train resilience in age appropriate ways.
2. Teach Growth Through Adversity. Every time we remove an obstacle from our child’s path, we rob them of an opportunity to grow and learn. Instead, allow them to fail, lose, endure hardship, and navigate relational tensions. Then use the teachable moment to instill relevant Biblical truth, refine spiritual reflexes, and identify specific lessons learned.
3. Practice Conflict Resolution. It is important for our children to learn to “kiss and make up” at an early age. I have heard the ten most powerful words of the human language are: “I was wrong. I am sorry. Will you forgive me?” Teach children to “keep short accounts” — seeking to resolve disputes quickly before they become deep seated roots of bitterness. Do not allow children to solve problems via “emotional cutoff” (ending a relationship rather that healing the hurt).
4. Flee a “Spirit of Offense.” Today’s secular progressive culture accentuates differences between special interest groups and promotes a “Spirit of Offense,” often couched in the vocabulary of trigger warnings, microaggressions, and safe spaces. Instead, we should instill James 1:19 “… be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger…” Additionally, we should help our children learn to listen to opposing views and value civil debate. This can be practiced in the home.
5. Challenge your children. We all grow resilience muscles by stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone. Sometimes we fail and learn, sometimes we succeed and learn. Parents, teachers, coaches should challenge children/teens/young adults to aim high, to reach for their full God-given potential without fear of failure. This often takes the form of challenging physical activities and experiences which help us stare down fear, develop grit, and grow resilience.
No doubt you can identify other ways to “Grow Bounce in Children.” As well, the resilience principles set forth in the Resilience God Style book, videos, and game are applicable to any age.
To land this plane, it is never too early to start building bounce in our children. While all of our children inherently have different resilience quotients, they all can get better, wiser, stronger as they navigate the inevitable “body slams” of life. This is what will help them become ready and resilient, prepared to honor and serve God under any circumstances.
As the Apostle Paul proclaimed,
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Phillipians 4:11,12)
This is what being ready and resilient looks like, for us and for our children.
May it be so!
So what about YOU?
What does Pursuing True Happiness look like to YOU?
What will be your True Joy during this Christmas season?
What inspiring Profile in Resilience have you been motivated by?
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How would YOUR family or group answer this question?
From the Mailbox
I am really enjoying your articles! Thank you for including me. I also am now following on Facebook. Keep up the GREAT work! God Bless this Ministry!~DJ Perry
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