Are children learning resilience? How do you build resilience in children?

What is Resilience?

Resilience is related to elasticity (malleability, plasticity, flexibility, adaptability, adjustability or fluidity). It is like stretching a rubber band. Once you leave it, it has to go back to its original shape, to where it was. Similarly, humans should have the capacity to bounce back to normal once the situation is over. In this way, they show resilience. But the brain has lost its elasticity due to accumulation of past knowledge and memories.

Why are we not resilient today?

The reason why we are not resilient is due to the things we choose to keep in our memory. Memory related to food, clothes, shelter, transportation, and communication is necessary for biological survival. Similarly, we have technical knowledge/memory which can also be linked to the same. But there is another kind of memory which is not linked to survival. These are memories related to our nationality, religion, personal community, or any memory of hurt that we may have experienced in the past. These kinds of memories are in fact dangerous as they lead to disturbing emotions. Due to this, our mind loses the capacity to experience sensitivity, openness, care, and consideration. These memories create the individual, ‘me’.

That ‘me’, having knowledge of these past memories and experiences, has created a distance between people. And this knowledge is in fact ignorance, as we use our past experiences to determine today’s actions, and do not look at what is happening in this moment. When we use knowledge, memory and thinking in relationships, it becomes a liability as it creates enmity in humanity. We are constantly fighting with each other, through comparison, competition, award and punishment.

Where has our education gone wrong?

Our method of educating children through award and punishment and creating comparisons and competition is the error committed by our education system. It is similar to training animals in a circus through carrot and stick. This is an error because this system does not work with humans due to their capacity to think.

It has led our children to excel in technology and academics, but spoiled behavior through award, punishment, comparison and competition. Children have learned to use their memories to manipulate, to get even with people, and to put others down for personal gain.  Had we educated children with love, care, and consideration, the scenario today would have been completely different. We would have learned to amicably co-exist, and co-operate rather than compete.

What can we do to build resilience in children today?

A compass always points out directions correctly, as it sees things (directions) as they are. If we follow the compass of life and see people as they are, without feeling the need to accept or reject them, we can develop compassion. The meaning of compassion is care, love for everyone, and ability to be happy. The purpose of education is to teach a person compassion, humanity, and humility, and to discard everything that comes in between relationships. The ending of sorrow is the blessing of compassion.

We have now created a ‘habit’ or a ‘pattern’ in our minds that broods on unwanted memories to guide our actions. This habit prevents us from being resilient. These habits cause us to be stuck in past hurts and memories, impacting our ability to bounce back. It is important to learn what creates this habit. Understanding and maturity are required to become aware of ourselves. Only awareness of faulty habits will help us change them. Resilience will be built only if we can rid our minds of faulty habits and bounce back to normal once a crisis situation is over.

Please share your thoughts, questions, and your experiences on how you have helped build resilience in your students.

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