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The 7 Essential Building Blocks of Resilience

by Richard White II May 11, 2017

The youth under our charge live up or down to the expectations we set for them.  If you call greatness out of them then they will be Great.  If we even inadvertently talk them down then they will move toward that expectation also. They need us to believe in them no matter what.  They need us to consistently hold them to high expectations, never giving them a pass to not do their best. They also need us to be compassionate, generous, and creative when holding them to the expectation.  We should be our youth's greatest hype man or woman.  The below 7 Cs will help them build resilience.

Competence: When we notice what young people are doing right and give them opportunities to develop important skills, they feel competent. We undermine competence when we don't allow young people to recover themselves after a fall. Its ok for them to fail.  I know it hurts to see it but its important.

Confidence: Young people need confidence to be able to navigate the world, learn new skills, think outside the box, and recover from challenges.   

Connection: Connections with other people, schools, outdoor adventure program, and communities offer young people the security that allows them to stand on their own and develop creative solutions.    

Character: Young people need a clear sense of right and wrong and a commitment to integrity.   We need to model the behavior we want to see in them.  We can't lie about a parking ticket and expect them to tell the truth about their homework. 

Contribution: Young people who contribute to the well-being of others will receive gratitude rather than condemnation. They will learn that contributing feels good and may therefore more easily turn to others, and do so without shame.   Service should be a compont of every youth program.

Coping: Young people who possess a variety of healthy coping strategies, to deal with minor and major furstrations, will be less likely to give up turn to dangerous quick fixes when stressed or presented with learning a challanging new skill.

Control: Young people who understand privileges and respect are earned through demonstrated responsibility will learn to make wise choices and feel a sense of control. 

A great aid to building resilience in youth is working on a new skill or "hard" task.  Attached is a link for a knot-tying exercise that will force them to develop new skills. 
Check it out here.

Richard White II
Richard White II


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