As we journey through life the challenges and stresses we face are many and varied. We don’t necessarily know, nor can prepare for, all of the challenges we might be called upon to face. The quality of resilience is the ability to recover quickly from these difficult situations. Being able to bend rather then break. Resilience allows one to minimize the impact of these situations and assists in overcoming adversity. It is about thriving.
Resilience is a quality that comes naturally, and is one which can be nurtured. Children who do not show resilience are at a greater risk of experiencing mental health disorders as well as social and behavioral problems. Treating mental illness is expensive. Creating mental health, building those qualities associated with resiliency, is much more cost effective. Qualities such as being able to talk to others about worries, having self-control when needed, the ability to recognize and describe feelings, and have the ability to problem solve. We can foster these traits through social and environmental factors.
Remember resilient kids turn into resilient adults.
It does take a village to foster children. The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “Youth groups promote positive peer relationship and pro-social behavior. Stable neighborhood residents and services relieve parental distress and encourage families and neighbors to spend leisure time together. Schools that have caring teachers, extra curricular activities and high quality after school programs add to a child’s resiliency.” When children have the opportunity to follow their interests in school, and in after school programs, we are promoting their self-esteem, their ability to function in the world, social awareness, all while meeting new and different mentors. Sports programs bring families together reinforcing social networks.
In a climate of budget cuts the programs mentioned above are usually the first to be eliminated. That’s like chopping off an arm to remove a splinter. These programs create mental health for our children and for us parents! Please keep letting county officials know how important these programs are to our families and in turn our neighborhoods. You can send e-mails to our mayor and to County Council members asking them to support programs for children, adolescents and families rather than giving breaks to developers. And, if you have a skill you can share with a local school or program, I encourage you to do so. Let’s make sure that Maui’s children have a true sense of purpose and a future that they feel in command of!
Image Credit: Grade Maui Council