By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
Keira Flionis, a member of the Alvord Educators Association, hands her students balls to remind them of the importance of bouncing back after facing difficult times in their lives.
Of all the lessons you learned growing up, it just may be the most important: Life isn’t always fair. Sometimes it can be downright cruel and leave you with more questions than answers — questions like “Why did this happen to me?” and “What do I do now?” The answers to questions like these are seldom simple and often don’t offer the comfort and resolution you are seeking at the time. But the process of asking them, of learning how to examine your life and cope with challenges, can make a world of difference — especially if you learn these skills at an early age.
Originally thought to be an inborn trait, resiliency is now considered a process that can be cultivated in the classroom, and many educators are doing just that. From Palo Alto to Riverside, teachers across California are discovering what new research is also showing us: Resilient students are better focused on learning and perform well on standardized tests. They aren’t incapacitated by a breakup or not making the varsity team. Instead, they understand the way they approach disappointments can help them gain a positive — or just a different — perspective. What’s more, this important life lesson extends far beyond the classroom, as resilient students go on to become resilient adults capable of handling life’s ups and downs.