Every student here at Merryhill will face a unique set of challenges. These challenges come in different shapes and sizes, on different days and at different times. Students take tests, learn new information daily, get sick, get braces, make new friends, and occasionally get hurt by those friends. So, the question we ask is: how do we help our students effectively conquer these challenges?
As parents and educators, we can help our students conquer their challenges in two ways. First, by allowing them to solve the problem for themselves (depending on severity of the issue at hand) and secondly, by fostering a sense of resilience. When our students are facing challenges, it is very easy to want to jump in and fix the problem for them. It is easier, and often quicker, for us as adults to determine the appropriate solution to help a student overcome a challenge. However, if we act as the knight in shining armor every time a challenge arises for students, it is nearly impossible for them to learn the strategies required to effectively overcome challenges through problem solving. Although there is a natural inclination to swoop in to help, it is important for students to move through the process of disappointment and to understand what failure feels like in order to gain the emotional tools required to overcome other challenges. When students work through difficult tasks independently, they begin to build the confidence that will better equip them to handle future obstacles.
Teaching our students resilience is also a great strategy to help with overcoming challenges. Resilient students are problem solvers. They tackle difficult situations with confidence and strive to find good solutions. As a result, they feel a pride in their independent problem solving and begin to realize that they are capable of beating any challenge that gets in their way, thus building even more confidence to tackle the next hurdle.
Below are a few ideas on how to teach your student resilience.
1. Do not accommodate every need.
2. Avoid eliminating all risk.
3. Teach them problem solving skills, help them brainstorm strategies.
4. Avoid “why” and instead ask “how”. How can we solve this, not, why did this happen?
5. Do not provide all the answers
And remember, “ If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”