COMMENT – Building Resilience

My six-year-old grandson has discovered hockey this year and become an ardent Leafs fan.  Disappointment is around the corner, but losing teaches important life lessons.

As a young mother, I remember feeling the insults and injuries received by my children and felt their pain keenly. I wanted to protect them, but running interference between the world and your children is not a good parenting strategy.  It’s better for them to get out there, take some (appropriate) risks and learn about the real world and how to cope early in life when they have parents around to deliver constructive support and they are still open to receiving it.

In discussions about the potential high school switch for local students, a mother expressed ambivalence about the disruption for her children.  Having been forced to transfer schools in high school herself, she attributed the experience to giving her the confidence to move across the country after high school, believing she was able to deal with the challenges and opportunities that would come her way.

The proliferation of trigger warnings these days seems to suggest many of us can’t cope.  This fear can become self-fulfilling. Is our obsession with avoiding harm  creating a new source of damage?  Overcoming adversity builds judgement, confidence and the ability to deal with future challenges.

Last weekend, ball hockey started and in this league they kept score. My grandson’s team suffered a humiliating loss.  He faced his disappointment by going home to work on his shot.  He is now better prepared to see the Leafs lose.  Like most fans, he will believe that next season will be different and move on to soccer or baseball.  Losing can be a good thing.  KG

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