Helping Our Children to Find Resilience
Communities around the world are slowly beginning to reopen. People are starting to resume some of the normal activities that were curtailed by stay-at-home orders. Some people are going back to work. And yet life is anything but normal. Worse, many health experts predict that our desire to return to some semblance of the world we remember will only endanger us further. Many people are still very much afraid. Millions of people are still out of work, and many of them will not ever be returning to the jobs they left. We are in an unprecedented time—and our children know it.
No matter how much we want to protect our children from the big scary truths of our current situation, they know that things are different. Many of them know someone who was sick or who passed from the virus. Many have a family member who is out of work. And many of them are struggling to deal with the new normal. The good news is that kids oftentimes are surprisingly resilient. The better news is that we can help them find that resiliency by teaching them coping mechanisms for stress and fear and anxiety and anger and frustration and every other negative emotion. At Royal Fireworks, we provide some beneficial tools to do that.
One of the best places to start is with a few special courses in our Online Learning Community designed to impart to children life skills that will serve them well, not just now but for the rest of their lives. Cody Rounds is teaching a meditation course and two mindfulness courses designed to reduce stress. Cody is the author, with Jordan Novak, of two excellent publications for young children: Breath Magic and The Secret Code of Senses. Both books aim to teach children positive ways of dealing with stress by listening to and working to control their bodies.
We also offer an excellent series of books by Ingrid Klass on Eastern philosophical principles that teach kids about mindfulness and how to find contentment and happiness, even in the midst of trying times. Ingrid is offering two mini-courses this summer, one on Buddhism and one on Jainism.
If Western philosophy is more your style, Dr. Sharon Kaye’s series of books explores a wide variety of philosophical topics from the Western tradition, with books for children from as young as age five all the way up to age eighteen. Every book enables children to think deeply about topics that have no right or wrong answers, exercising their minds in ways that will benefit them as problem-solvers. One of the benefits of discussing philosophy with children is that it often allows them to intellectualize and then discuss many of the issues that are bothering them most intensely. Dr. Kaye is also teaching a course this summer on the Western philosophical explorations of reality, identity, and autonomy.
For parents, we offer some books that can be helpful, including Planting Seeds of Mindfulness, “Mellow Out,” They Say. If Only I Could, and From Stress to Success. Parents might also enjoy The Essential Guidebook for Parents of Gifted Children to help them understand their gifted child, which all by itself can alleviate some of the stressors that often crop up in families with gifted kids.
The current reality of our situation is not going to be the reality of next month or even next year. It will change—hopefully for the better, but perhaps not. We want our children to be as healthy and resilient as they can be, and it is our duty as adults to give them the tools to find the inner strength to emerge from this situation—and any other situation—as happy, well-adjusted people.