In an El Nino year, just behind worries about mudslides and commuting to work and school, is the concern about a roof that leaks–that leaky roof. We all have these concerns about what happens when the unexpected happens and the rain comes in the house and leaves us with puddles, warped wood floors, and stained walls. We can take measures to prevent it and to fix a leak when it happens, but is rarely expected and always takes some time to fully clean up. Still, as anyone who lives an apartment or house knows a leaky roof is always a possibility.
In life, sometimes the roof leaks as well. We expect one outcome only to have the opposite occur. The rain of disappointment leaves tear-stained cheeks, skinned knees and bruised feelings. It is a part of life that we would rather forget but it will happen and we ought to be prepared.
In psychology we call the ability to respond to and recover from disappointment and difficulty resiliency. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, resiliency is the ability to become strong, healthy or successful again after something bad happens. It’s a powerful tool and it requires a great deal of thought and preparation before use. As much as a homeowner’s insurance policy is a tool and comfort when there is a leaky roof, resiliency is the human equivalent to the homeowner’s insurance policy. As a school community, we believe very strongly in resiliency and we want our students to have the beginnings of a working resiliency muscle by the time they leave 8th grade and head on into the next chapter of their lives;.
Building resilience takes time and practice both in school and at home. It also takes moments of disappointment and difficulty to see how resilient we or our children really are. So let’s work together to minimize the effects of the life’s leaky roofs and grow resiliency in its place with these three tools:
Check the gutters. We all have places where we let the garbage of our daily existence collect. much like the leaves and debris that accumulate in the gutters. It is important to be aware of where the tough parts of life lie for each one of us as individuals and as a family unit. Awareness of stressful triggers is a powerful tool.
Clean the gutters. Once we are aware of stress we need to address it before the storm. Tools like mindfulness, healthy eating, exercise and sleep are all ways to keep life running smoothly and when there is a leaky roof, these tools can be the difference between a manageable leak and a major flood.
Plan for a leak. We know that there will be painful moments that may feel difficult. It is important to recognize that hard moments and difficult situations are a part of life and they cannot always be avoided. How will we respond? How will we separate our own feeling and emotions from our child’s? Are we prepared to truly help our child develop the resiliency muscle even when it is painful for them and for us?
Wishing all of us leaky roofs that few and far between.