Building Our Resilience Muscles

It was great to see all of our Dragons this week, whether it was in person or virtually! Although things look a little different this year, our students and teachers still have that same back-to-school excitement.

Yesterday, we celebrated the beginning of the school year with a rather unique Opening Chapel. Since large gatherings in person are currently unfeasible, Chaplain Kristen sought to capture the elements of our formal service through “chapel kits”: Students were given bags with streamers, an LED candle, a shaker egg, and either prayer cards or a whiteboard to allow them to engage more deeply in the service . Our Grade 8 WES “lifers” took turns ringing a bell during the service to honor our usual tradition in which they would ring the bell on campus to officially ring in the new school year. 

During the chapel talk, I shared with the students the importance of building our resiliency. All of our lives have changed drastically in the last six months. Our students have been unable to come to campus for school, sports and performing arts seasons have been cancelled, and many of our summer vacation plans changed as well. All of these things are unfortunate, but they are temporary, and we can bounce back from them.  

The wonderful thing about resilience is that we can always continue to develop this skill. Resilience is not something you are born with or not born with. It is very similar to a “growth mindset.” The more we work on resilience, the better we get at it. Like a muscle, the more we develop our resilience, the stronger we become.  

There are several actions that we can do to build our resilience muscles or to help us bounce back. Here are just a few:

Find the gifts in the challenges.

Every challenge has something positive about it. During Covid that gift may have been that we spent more time as a family, or maybe we started a new hobby, or learned a new skill. What’s important is that we are able to find a silver lining during difficult times. 

Switch from thinking about the problems to thinking about the solutions.

I reminded the students that when they feel overwhelmed by school and extracurricular activities, that they can choose to think about all the work they need to do and feel bad about it. Or, they can get to work. They can make notecards to help them study or knock out that math homework. Sometimes just getting started on a solution will give you the momentum to keep going.

Ask for help and help others.

When we feel frustrated, sad, or anxious about something, it is important to let others know so we can get the support we need. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Each of us has a support system made up of our family, our friends, and the WES community. Those relationships help us get through tough times. But not only is it important to ask for help – it’s important to offer and provide help to others. Not only is that the right thing to do, but when we assist others, we actually feel better about ourselves. We become more confident, which then allows us to bounce back from challenges more easily.

By working on our resilience muscles, we will find ourselves not only surviving, but thriving, during challenging situations. We will learn from those challenges and we will grow from them.

 I wish all of our community an exciting and joyful school year!