a kid’s story.
The other day my 8 year old kid told me,
“Mama, I think I’m becoming more resilient.” I asked him to tell me what that meant so I could understand him better.
They told me, “because now when teachers get angry with me, and I haven’t done anything wrong or had a chance to explain, I don’t think I’m bad as much.”
[ID: the child wears white and black shorts with a grey shirt. Their bronzed face is slightly seen but more so are their curly locks. They hold their smooshed cat lovey, named possum. He pets the cutest furry brown, black & beige cat in our neighbourhood without the fear they had about cats a year earlier. End ID]
Now, you know I launched into a whole thing about blame and shame and how teachers can absolutely be doing this differently, but it got me thinking about what they said.
He was defining resilience by his ability to be able to just take being blamed and/or shamed without the chance to speak up for himself or reflect on his role in what was being talked about. They defined resilience by how well they were able to not react to situations that they felt were unfair and couldn’t speak up on. Resilience to my 8 year old was his ability to “take it” and not react in a way that was deemed unacceptable by the adults around him.
I can’t stop thinking about if that’s the kind of resilience I’m really trying to insist my child believes they need.
My son is 10 and one thing (of many) that I admire about him is his ability (and need?) to stand up for himself when he feels wronged. I still struggle to do this for myself as a grown woman. Fortunately he is in a school where they do a good job much of the time listening to him and how he's feeling and I'm thankful for that.
On the flip side, he can become really defensive when 1) he has done something he should not have done, or 2) he hears us talking in the other room, assumes we're talking about him, and that we're being critical - when it has nothing at all to do with him, we might be talking about the dog!
It's a bit of a challenge encouraging him to learn to take ownership for things he has done wrong without him becoming super defensive.
I do so appreciate what seems like his innate sense of justice.
I love this reflection - thank you for sharing. It's prompted me to think more about what resilience means and looks like to me.