By: Fran Smith
Our goal is to raise children who can deal with life’s bumps and bruises, bounce back from the difficult times and find happiness in “less than ideal” situations. Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg in his book, Building Resilience in Children and Teens, describes how to raise successful children who will be compassionate, creative, happy and hardworking by building on seven “C’s” – competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control. We want to give children both roots and wings so that they can deal with and rise above life’s challenges, thrive and move forward with confidence. We want to let them experience life’s lessons while protecting them from struggles that can bring irreparable harm.
Children need caring adults to give them unconditional love, support, guidance, understanding, respect, discipline, and a safe environment. We can bolster their strengths and encourage them to work with their weakness. We can be positive role models for them, as well as, other family member, friends, teachers, coaches, sports figures, writers, scientists, firefighters, neighbors, and many others. Through participating in classes, activities, and events at schools, churches, park districts, social organizations, YMCAs, Boys and Girls clubs, children can build on their self-esteem and resilience.
Specifically for girls, we can use Women’s History Month to highlight some of the women who make some positive and permanent societal changes, offered the world beauty in the arts, foraged scientific breakthroughs, risks their lives defending a cause, giving their all for the best of their children; and we can honor all women for the good that they give. Organizations like Girls on the Run, Girls Scouts, Girls Incorporated, and Girls for a Change are there for helping girls build on their leadership skills, foster healthy relationships and find self-expression. We can teach children to be grateful for what they have, for being appreciative of differences, and share with others where all soar.
We all have some things to share and give, whether a skill, a talent, a silly joke, a smile, a kind word, a helping hand, a drawing, or our very presence. In giving, our strength grows and we receive a sense of our self-worth, and can realize our unique brilliance.