HOW WE RAISE CHILDREN Welcome to 2019. If I could transform or change an aspect of how we are raising and educating our children, it would be in building resilience. If we start by building independence, resilience will follow. As Michael Grose declares, children are hard-wired for independence. He goes on to explain that very early on, most children will make a strong case for self-sufficiency. They demand to do things their own way. This demand is soon backed by a strong will as they approach about the age of three! This is the time to harness their push for independence and self-sufficiency. Their push for independence will see most children take incredible physical risks in the form of play, the exploration of their immediate surrounds and their wish to gain mastery over their environment.
As parents and educators, we recognise that children will fall and hurt themselves, but they’ll also get up and go again. In time, they’ll learn to assess situations, stare down their fears and test themselves out in new situations. Falling down, brushing yourself off and trying again is part of the natural learning experience for most young children. So, what’s this got to do with resilience? Independence is the pursuit of mastery over one’s self and one’s environment and it rarely happens without failure, mishaps and mistakes. It nearly always involves hurt, hardship, frustration and fear. That’s where resilience comes in. Resilience is the art of bouncing forward after experiencing these hurts, hardships, frustrations and fears. Resilience is what comes from seeking out self-sufficiency and independence.
There’s a whole genre of language devoted to resilience and it’s mostly cloaked in cliché. Terms such as ‘get back on the bike when you fall off’ and ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ are built into the psyche of past generations. Many parents today will cringe at these terms as they appear a little callous and out of touch. However, therein lies the challenge. We all want our children to develop resilience that will last a lifetime. Yet, many of us will block the pathway to children’s resilience by over-indulging, solving their problems and not giving them real responsibility. In doing so they deny children the sense of mastery that comes from sorting out their own problems, getting themselves out of jams and getting up after a fall. You can never love your children too much, but you can love them helplessly. It’s a parent’s job to acknowledge the hurt, pain, frustration, but not to prevent it. That’s what happens when we deny them the opportunity to become truly independent and self-sufficient. Deny self-sufficiency and you block a child’s resilience. Develop real independence and you open the pathway to resilience that will last a lifetime. We need to let our kids know that they are supported and loved but that we also trust that they are strong and brave and adventurous and competent. Let’s see if we can transform our thinking to best equip our children. m www.saac.qld.edu.au
REVEREND CHRIS IVEY
PRINCIPAL St Andrew’s Anglican College
Chris Ivey has been Principal of St Andrew’s Anglican College since 2007. He is married to Elizabeth and they have four children, the older two are at University and his youngest two are at St Andrew’s, where he hopes they love being with their Dad! Chris trained as an English and drama teacher before becoming a college Chaplain and then moving into his current leadership role.
YOU’RE INVITED TO THE
Principal’s Tour with Chris Ivey Prep to Year 12
Tuesday 28 May 2019 9:00am
e rienc Expe earning er L ’s Walk Andrew t S t a s lace ed p Limit ilable a v a
38 ISSUE 91
40 Peregian Springs Drive Peregian Springs RSVP: email@example.com or phone 5471 5555
Transform your MIND, your BODY, your BUSINESS. Autumn 2019 issue out now.