Resilience

Resilience is a bit of an IN word at the moment. But I certainly think it deserves its moment in the sun.

Here are some definitions of resilience:

1. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity: oxford dictionary

2. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness: oxford dictionary

3. In less than a decade the term resilience has evolved from the disciplines of materials science and environmental studies to become a concept used liberally and enthusiastically by policy makers, practitioners and academics. It suggests an ability of something or someone to cope in the face of adversity – to recover and return to normality after confronting an abnormal, alarming and often unexpected threat. It is used alongside security to understand how governments, local authorities and the emergency services can best address the threats from terrorism, natural disasters, health pandemics and other disruptive challenges. Torrens Resilience Institute

4. Put simply, resiliency refers to the capacity of human beings to survive and thrive in the face of adversity. Resiliency Resource Centre

My family have had an opportunity to build up their resiliency muscles this school holidays. After 2 weeks of my youngest son being sick with the flu, the entire family came down with gastro. It was like a rolling wave of sickness that started with me, then gradually engulfed each member of the family, one after another. As I crawled out of bed, my husband was struck, then my daughter. My eight year old was nursing us all for a day before it struck him. Not my ideal family holiday. But amazingly there were positives in it. Adversity brings opportunity to develop excellent character traits. Who doesn’t want their kids to have compassion, be helpful, caring, unselfish, sacrificing, and serve others with love. The whole family being sick meant we all had to look after each other in new ways. We bonded as a family in a new way. We cared for and encouraged each other. I certainly don’t wish for another bout of gastro, but I recognise the value in fighting adversity together as a family. The joy that resilience brings when we all bounce back from illness and charge into our various pursuits. This life will certainly bring trials. We cannot avoid them. As Paul said in Romans “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope”(Romans 5:3-4). Maybe resilience is the new way of understanding this old concept, that those who suffer, who are not defeated by it, can become stronger through it and develop those character traits that make them more able to succeed and prosper in life. So whether it is in your family and children, education, emergency services or whatever field you are in, resilience offers the perspective that says don’t be afraid of adversity, it just might teach you something!

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