As the end of the year approaches rapidly, schools are often abuzz with expectation. Sometimes this is the thrilling excitement of new beginnings, new high schools, new teachers. Sometimes it can be a heavy sense of dread at the prospect of change. This week our entire school explored the idea of change within their classes and HOOFIES groups.

Francois de la Rochefoucauld famously recognised: “The only thing constant in life is change”.

This can be disheartening if we don’t recognise the incredible resilience innate within each person.

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Resilience is our natural ability to adapt to stress and adversity (‘Our bounce-back-ability’). When working with vulnerable people (like children) it is easy to become preoccupied with the problems and forget that inside each little being is a huge resource of resilience ready to be exercised. What can often happen in a counselling session is that a ‘problem saturated‘ account of life is presented, and this becomes the banner under which all therapeutic work is done. To avoid wallowing in negativity it is necessary to explore, and sometimes teach children about their own resilience. ‘Fixing’ a psychological problem in someone’s life has little long term benefit if it isn’t coupled with a transfer of skills or knowledge. This often takes the form of experiences. Telling children to believe in themselves is one thing, but facilitating experiences where children and young people are exposed to their own inner strength is something different altogether. I am reminded of the immense bravery our Grade 4 students showed by attending their Grade 4 Camp this term and embracing the experience.

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As adults we can give ourselves the gift of challenging experiences, or, if life is challenging enough already, we can learn that every current challenge has liberating truth to impart to us, if we look for it.

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We can teach children to feel safe with an adult, but we can also introduce them to the vital notion of trusting themselves, of knowing that they are inwardly resilient.

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Here’s to embracing the end of a great year and all it’s requisite challenges!

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