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Family Talk: Raising resilient kids

Jim Priest
Jim Priest

My grandson James just turned 1. He speaks three languages and is mastering quantum physics. Or maybe it just seems that way. But he is a smart kid. Just look at how he bumps into things.

James stayed with us recently and enjoyed walking behind a push toy at a crazy fast pace. Granted, James can’t walk just yet, but with the push toy, he could tear down the hallway at breakneck speed. Except when he ran into things.

I resisted the urge to help him around the obstacles that impeded his progress. I wanted to see if he persisted in figuring a way around. Eventually he did. Even though he got frustrated and sometimes squawked about it, he persisted.

Watching James, I remembered the book "Option B" by Sheryl Sandberg. One of the chapters, “Raising Resilient Kids,” says this:

We all want to raise resilient kids so they can overcome obstacles big and small. Resilience leads to greater happiness, more success, and better health … and it’s a lifelong project. We can start by helping children develop four core beliefs: (1) they have some control over their lives; (2) they can learn from failure; (3) they matter as human beings; and (4) they have real strengths to rely on and share.

That’s what I was doing with James, even though, initially, I wasn’t conscious I was resilience training. I was letting him have some control over his life. I was allowing him to learn from failure. I let him do for himself rather than doing for him. I think Sheryl would have been proud.

Sheryl is raising her two young children without their dad, who died unexpectedly at an early age. Sheryl and her kids face resilience lessons a thousand times more complicated and challenging than my little lesson with James. But resilience training starts small, and it starts now. Give your kids more than potty training; give them resilience training. The lessons last a lifetime.

Jim Priest is CEO of Sunbeam Family Services and can be reached at jpriest@sunbeamfamilyservices.org.

Related Photos
<strong>Guiding children to be resilient can mean letting them experience failures. [METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION PHOTO]</strong>

Guiding children to be resilient can mean letting them experience failures. [METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION PHOTO]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2924d5c56c9fdb2be7d0eeaf68811571.jpg" alt="Photo - Guiding children to be resilient can mean letting them experience failures. [METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION PHOTO] " title=" Guiding children to be resilient can mean letting them experience failures. [METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION PHOTO] "><figcaption> Guiding children to be resilient can mean letting them experience failures. [METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION PHOTO] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-607b48fe0c18f8b47dfc00e81cb0c8e4.jpg" alt="Photo - Jim Priest " title=" Jim Priest "><figcaption> Jim Priest </figcaption></figure>
Jim Priest

Jim Priest is the CEO of Sunbeam Family Services, a 108-year-old nonprofit that provides a range of social services to support Oklahoma's most vulnerable people, including early childhood education, counseling, foster care and senior services. Jim... Read more ›

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