Students demonstrate mental resilience by drawing on their positivity and inner strength to muster the courage and will to bounce back and try again with confidence and optimism despite major disappointments, failures, and misfortunes (including the pain and grief of personal traumas and tragedies). Students also deal positively with failure and learn from adversity.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Key Beliefs:

I will be a better student if I act on the following beliefs:

  • Even when life is tough, I know I can survive.
  • Negativity in life or in others does not change who I know I am.
  • I identify myself as a survivor rather than a victim.
  • I acknowledge that life comes with challenges and setbacks, which I can overcome.
  • Challenging life experiences can be opportunities for growth and change.
  • I can put negative experiences behind me and move forward with confidence and optimism.
  • Use examples from current events and literature to analyze how people face and bounce back from tragedy.
  • Foster an interdependent learning environment where students learn from you and you learn from them.
  • Implement “student–led family–school conferences” to encourage students to accept personal responsibility for their academic and school performance.
  • Provide opportunities for peer tutoring, during which students can learn from each other.
  • Allow students greater participation in and ownership of class and school activities and traditions.
  • Assign rotating classroom chores/roles, set a tone of “we’re all in this together,” and provide frequent positive feedback.
  • Discuss and implement reasonable student ideas for class and school rituals.
  • Help your students develop a sense of purpose through participation in community service projects and events.
  • Promote resilience in children and adolescents by increasing pro–social bonding.
  • Encourage cooperative play rather than competitive play.
  • Interact individually with students as frequently as possible and in ways that are mutually meaningful.
  • Shared reading activities can center on stories in which the major characters exhibit resilience.
  • Topics for journal writing can include factual narratives and personal reflections related to resilience.
  • Scientific experiments can provide visible and tangible examples of resiliency.
  • Discuss the concepts of friendship and the qualities of a good friend within the learning environment.
  • “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
  • “When nothing in life seems to be going right…. Go Left!” – Unknown
  • “I haven’t failed. I’ve identified 10,000 ways this doesn’t work.” – Thomas Edison
  • “People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under.” – Charles R. Swindoll
  • “The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.” – Napoleon Hill
  • “Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.” – Victor Hugo
  • “The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.” – Japanese proverb
  • “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot… and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s precisely why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
  • “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
  • “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius
  • “He that can’t endure the bad will not live to see the good.” – Jewish proverb
  • “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.” – Malcom Stevenson
  • “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden
  • “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

From on Bouncing Back

  • Learn about a person who has had to cope with adversity, such as actor Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed in an accident, or Rosa Parks, who was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus. Write a brief essay describing how that person used negative circumstances as a springboard to positive action. Share what you have learned by submitting your essay to your school or community newspaper.
  • Organize a school‐wide poster contest on the Success Skill of Resilience Display the winning poster(s) in a public area of your school.
  • As a group, decide on an imaginary situation where an adult is talking to a teen who has had a serious disappointment. Have three pairs of students role‐play the conversation. Then discuss which messages of encouragement were the most helpful, and why.
  • In small groups, brainstorm and develop a list of ten ways that teens can help themselves bounce back from adversity. Have each group present their list to the class, and together, decide on the five best techniques.
  • Keep a journal for one week, describing situations you encountered where being resilient either did help you or might have helped you. Write down your reactions to each situation. If you were not satisfied with how you reacted, write about what you could have done differently.

The Law of the Garbage Truck

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us!

My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, really friendly. So I asked, “Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!” This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.”

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage (frustration, anger, and disappointment, etc.). As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it, and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so… love the people who treat you right and pray for the ones who don’t. Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Andrew Jackson

The story is told that Andrew Jackson’s boyhood friends just couldn’t understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They knew of other men who had greater talent but who never succeeded. One of Jackson’s friends said, “Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now.” Another friend responded, “How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn’t they usually say three times and out?” “Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beaten –– he would never stay ‘throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andrew Jackson would throw him and be the winner.” Picking up on that idea, someone has said, “The thing that counts is not how many times you are ‘throwed,’ but whether you are willing to stay ‘throwed’.”

The Importance of Resilience