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SO…What IS resilience, and what’s the big deal? In a nutshell: resilience is that ability to bounce back and keep on keepin’ on when bad things happen to us.

These “bad things” can be huge, like the death of a loved one, or domestic violence, or having your house swept away in a tornado. But they can also be less dramatic: like having a fight with your best friend, or losing your car keys, or getting ┬ácalled out at a staff meeting.

We all respond to the inevitable stressors of our lives, and resilience is a term used to describe how we pick up the pieces, whether they are big or small, and move forward. We’re all born with the capacity to develop resilience, and everyone has it, to some degree. But like so much of development, our resilience depends a lot on our experiences in early childhood, as well as the kinds of stressors we encounter.

The media and posts below will introduce you to some of the big ideas of resilience, and help you to start to unravel this really important, but complex topic.

Resources to Guide You on Your Quest

In Brief: What is Resilience?

Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child has many excellent resources on resilience. This video introduces the topic in a few minutes.

The Science of Resilience

The 2nd video from the Center on the Developing Child uses the metaphor of a see saw to explain factors contributing to resilience. It also introduces some of the science behind the concept.

How Resilience is Built

The third video in the series focuses on the role of relationships in building resilience: caregivers, teachers, and the community as a whole.

Inside Resilient Children

Dr. Ann Masten is one of the foremost researchers on resilience, and coined the term “ordinary magic.” In this accessible TED-type talk, she shares stories of resilient children, and explains the science behind them.

Harry Potter and the Ordinary Magic of Resilience

A wonderful look at resilience using Harry Potter characters to examine how risk factors and problem behaviors are impacted by protective factors like relationships. Dr. Langworthy frames solid science with fun and engaging storytelling. Her Resilience Toolkit may be a resource of interest, too.

Building Resilience in Children

Rachel Wagner shares thoughtful and practical insights on nurturing resilience. Her work with Deverveux’s Center for Resilient Children is nationally known and focuses on strength-based approaches to challenging behaviors AND caregiver resilience.

Be sure to also check out the many terrific videos on resilience on the Center for Resilient Children’s YouTube page

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