This story is a great example of how we can work together to build great kids.
“I don’t think I can run in the race, I’ve got a stomach ache”, whispered a student to her teacher and her mum.
It was a pivotal moment for the adults. How should they respond, what could they do to help build this child’s resilience, what if they were wrong and the student was really sick?
Mum watched as the teacher responded.
“It sounds like you might be feeling a little bit scared about cross country.”
The girl nodded.
“Sometimes people feel this when they are trying something challenging or new, just wait and see how you feel when its time for your race.”
She waited, but as the race neared she went back to her teacher, clutching her tummy and on the verge of tears.
“I can’t do it”.
The teacher gave her some options.
“You have a choice on whether you give this a go. Just think about how you want to feel at the end of the race. If you decide not to give it a go, you might feel disappointed when others are talking about it and you don’t have your own story to share. If you do decide to give it go, you might feel pretty great that you did something a little hard and achieved your goal. But you need to make the decision”. The teacher gave a reassuring rub on the shoulder and returned to her duties.
Mum began to approach, but the teacher suggested that the student have a chance to make the decision on her own. They waited together to see what happened next.
In no time at all, the student ran up, told her mum she could do it and ran to join the starting line. She had a great run, and was so thrilled and proud of herself. She had her own story to share.
This is such a great example of adults working together to build a child’s resilience and competence.
In the book ‘Building Resilience in Children and Teens’, the author talks about ‘getting out of the way’ as being one of the toughest challenges we face as parents and teachers, yet one of the most important things we do to help children become resilient. As teachers and parents we want to fix it for our kids. We want to make the hard decisions for them, but children need the powerful message that ‘getting out of the way’ can communicate. It says, “I think you are competent and wise”. The mum and teacher did an amazing job of ‘getting out of the way’, allowing the student to use the systems and structures of the school setting to help her find a solution.
In the end, the student found her way through a situation she didn’t think was possible. Great result!
Building resilience in our learners is a strategic goal for our students. Programmes like peer mediation, physical activities, clubs and play create opportunities for our students to develop resilient behaviour and to learn the value of being able to ‘bounce back up’ when faced with adversity or challenge. As parents and teachers we can help create resilient kids together!
Resilience is one of our strategic areas. To see the whole plan, click the button below.