Value of the week – Resilience

“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”  Nelson Mandela

The value resilience is from the Latin resiliens, which means to spring back and return to the original form. If you are resilient, you have the ability to recover quickly from difficult situations. 

Resilience is a key component of wellbeing, which underpins a life that is filled with meaning and purpose.  To develop it, we need a positive support system of family and friends who help us nurture the positive values that will support our life. I received an illustration of this from my Australian friend Mike, who wrote to me about his grandson: 

“I’m very precious, aren’t I?”

My grandson had a sleepover.  This morning in the middle of breakfast he said, “I’m very precious, aren’t I?“
Marian, my wife, asked why he said that and he answered, “Because you two are always telling me that.“
We do but not so often use those words.
It made me ponder the profound effect of Marian’s mother instilling values in our own son when he was that age.
Seeds germinate for a surprisingly long time once planted.

Mike’s grandson is already showing he has self-awareness, his self-image being so positively nurtured by his grandparents’ remarks. 

I have been enjoying reading a book written by Leonard Marsh, called Alongside the Child in the primary school. Len was one of my heroes in the early stages of my career as a teacher. He had a deep understanding about how young children best learn and how we as teachers should resource their learning. He mentioned in his book the importance of mimicking, a concept that I hadn’t recently thought about.  I often talk about the importance of adults being role models for children; not so much about how young children mimic us.  For instance a young child will watch us as we take off our wellington boots and they will amusingly mimic us.  I recall often seeing my daughter Madeline, when she was little, pretending to be a teacher and being enthralled that she was mimicking me!

I recently was a guest on Charmaine Berry’s TV show in Manchester talking about my passion, Values-based Education. I was profoundly struck with the energy and resilience of another guest called James, who inspiringly and humbly talked about his work as leader of the Starlight Family charity in Uganda. Its webpage states:    

With the help of our worldwide family, friends and supporters Starlight Family Charity Organisation, supports vulnerable children and adults in Nasuuna and Nakassagazi villages, Kiboga, Uganda. Starlight Family’s young founder in Uganda, Lukyamuzi James was himself an orphan and street child and knows the difficult conditions faced by many living in his local area today. His charismatic and selfless attitude has nurtured the organisation since 2010 reaching out to those who are in need of practical and emotional support living in remote places.  

James is a living example of someone who has shown that with resilience a huge impact can be made on our own lives and those of others.

My wife Jane and I have written a book called, The Inner Curriculum that describes the internal journey children need to be on so that they can develop resilience and wellbeing. The book illustrates how resilience begins, as Mike’s grandson showed, by being self-aware and as James demonstrated in the TV show by being his authentic self with a mindset of curious enquiry and determination.