I have 3 teenagers still at home and one child off to college. When my kids were in elementary school we had lots of activities, and I spent a lot of time volunteering at the school. I thought we had a lot going on. I had no idea how busy we actually could be. I homeschooled my kids through middle school, the last one finishing 8th grade this year. The older my kids get, the busier they get. Between school, sports, jobs, and spending time with friends, it seems like someone is always coming or going, or needing a ride. Life gets crazy. In some ways I enjoy all the stuff we do, and we don’t even do half of what a lot of families I know do, but in other ways, when there is a day at home to just be home, I relish those days.
This world is full of so much noise. We have information at our fingertips, good information, bad information, and harmful information. We have more ways to waste time now, and it seems more time to waste than ever before, and yet, anxiety and depression are on the rise, in adults, and especially in our younger generation. There seems to be a misconception that if we aren’t busy, or being entertained in our off time, we really aren’t living. The opposite is true as well. We have this selfish outlook, that we come first, that we need to take care of ourselves first, and that we are the most important thing, that doing only what we want to do is all that should be required of us. I believe that this is a false perception as well. True, we need to take care of ourselves, but that should not be the main driving force behind everything we do. We should be anxiously engaged in helping others, doing good, seeing beyond ourselves and seeing others.
Resilience is something I have thought a lot about as far as my kids are concerned. This past year has been extremely difficult for many people, not just financially, but mentally as well. Resilience to me is to become strong, successful, despite opposition, and especially in hard times. Able and capable of change, to recover quickly from whatever life throws at us. I have learned to love change. Change means new opportunities. Sometimes change comes when we are looking for it, sometimes it knocks us down, and we have to stop and think about how to proceed. I have found that some of the most resilient people I know embrace change, they look forward to change, they know it leads to something better.
There are several things that I think help me be more resilient and help me embrace change much easier. First, understanding that I am not the only person who has ever gone through this, and often, as in 2020, there was a world full of people going through very similar things. Second, stop looking at everything bad going on around us. Yes, we need to see the problem, but only long enough to start looking for a solution. We were blessed with the ability to reason and to think, and we need to use that ability to our benefit, as well as the benefit of those around us. A quote I found when I first started homeschooling my kids from Albert Einstein – “Education is not the learning of facts, but rather the training of the mind to think.” One example of solution thinking was the number of individuals who started producing masks, and videos on how to make masks, within just a few days of knowing we would need them. Larger companies produced kits for those who wanted to make their own, other companies produced and still produce not only large quantities, but such a huge variety of masks, from plain to personalized. Third, helping others around me. How often do we think we have it bad, and then when someone needs help, we go and realize we aren’t doing that bad. There are so many people out there worse off than us. And helping others doesn’t just benefit them, but when we help, we leave lifted ourselves. Fourth, be grateful. I wrote a post several weeks ago on gratitude, so I won’t elaborate too much, but gratitude helps us see what we really do have, to see how we really have been blessed, to have that 2020 hindsight. And lastly, praying has always helped me. We can receive help, we can receive answers. How do I know? Because I have. I see the course corrections I need to make, I see the opportunities for what they are so they don’t pass me by, and I have the reassurance that sometimes I just need to hold on a little longer, help is on the way. I am grateful for the answers I receive through my prayers
Resilience is an attribute, a characteristic that we can develop. It is also an attitude that we can choose. If we embrace what happens to us and around us, we can make a difference, not just in our own lives, but we can change the world around us, and who doesn’t want to change the world for the better!