By Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson, Director of Religious Education,.
Caring for a child evokes an incessant desire to protect, a wish to shield another from pain and harm. It has a power like no other, driven by love and shaped by instinct and sheer will. Nurturing another into becoming while they grow is a sacred task. Our love is instilled inside another so they might cultivate the hope, wonder, and possibility we all need to grow and survive. Even when we know that any bubble of safety created is only temporary, it is vital.
When hurt does touch a child, we hope that our love and caring can manifest into resilience. Adversity is a part of life, being loved lends us the strength to live through and past the hard times. How many times have you heard, “It takes just one caring adult in a child’s life to ensure they survive…,” bullying, toxic friendship to suicide prevention, and high school graduation rates. The secret ingredient of enduring adversity in life is a positive human connection.
Teaching children how to be in a relationship with themselves and others in the world give children the tools to be resilient. It seems it is our relationships; our communities can offer us real salvation.
“At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself—yet also a belief in something larger than oneself.”
-Hara Estroff Marano,
“The Art of Resilience,” Editor of Psychology Today
How do we build resilience? How do we give our children the tools of resilience? One way is creating habits. I am reminded of the koan-like aphorism, “You are defined by your habits good and bad.” It suggests that making a habit of connection and tending to our relationships might be the recipe to resilience. The ingredients for connection might have to come in moments squeezed into a full schedule. Intentionally focusing on a child for five minutes a day will make an immeasurable difference to both of you. That is the challenge, what will you do? Find the time to tell a joke, make a game out of waiting, sing out loud in the car or say a prayer of gratitude?
It is up to you just be sure to risk being known through love.