To Raise Resilient Kids, We Must be Resilient Parents
Over a year ago, I took a book concept to one of the most well respected publishing houses in London. We all know that writing a book is hard enough, but trying to get one published is even harder. I sat in the reception, waiting for my appointment. Some six weeks prior, I had handed in a twenty-thousand-word sample book submission. The receptionist smiled and then continued typing. She was busy. As I looked at the sprawling white book shelves opposite me, it was filled with world renown authors whose books had been published here. I mean, no big deal, just JoJo Moyes, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Marian Keyes and Sir Ranulph Fiennes to name a few. I started to wonder if my book was good enough. But, I ask you the question, what is determined as good enough?
Just getting the appointment with the publishing house had felt like an achievement. It had meant that they had already reviewed my submission and wanted to meet me. But, unfortunately, for many reasons it was not to be. In some respects, this can often be down to timing and what they are looking for and not a question of whether it was good enough. I went on to have further meetings with two other publishing houses with a hope of getting a contract in principal, but they also resulted in a “sorry, we can’t take this forward right now.” However, I wasn’t deterred by rejection. I am resilient. An important quality I want to pass on to my children. Because, even as adults, we know that the feeling of failure or rejection can cut deep.
So how can we raise our children to know how to manage the knock backs? As parents, teachers and carers, we all want to raise resilient kids — to help them to develop their strength over time. Building resilience is an important part of their development. As parents, we sometimes forget how much our children mirror us. When I see the expressive gestures my nine-year-old daughter gives me and I wonder where on earth she got those from. I quickly realise she got them from me. Children reflect what they see and what they see most for the first decade of their lives comes from us. We are their role models. Seeing how we cope with life’s highs and lows could be more important than you think. They watch, they learn and they gain strength from supporting adults, as they see us taking risks, finding resilience and growing our own self-confidence – at any age.
The good news is that resilience isn’t a fixed personality trait; we’re not born with a set amount of it. Resilience can be built over time. If you see resilience as a muscle, then it is never too late to start building it; but the younger you start – the better.We know every child will face challenges and those stumbles are all part of growing up. As parents, sometimes our instinct is to cocoon them, to solve all their problems, to catch them before they fall; so, they never feel the disappointment of failure. But failure is a crucial part of personal growth. Because, let us be honest, we have all failed at something at some stage. Resilience helps us to find new ways to cope or overcome the situation. To seek out a new way to achieve our goals. We must help our children to develop a growth mindset so they can find the positives, even when things seem bad.
So, as my daughter watches me try and try again with my book submission, we talk about it. In a world that has an unhealthy relationship with perfectionism, I am trying hard to keep my children grounded. As I watch her struggle to complete her maths paper I lean over and say to her “keep going. Practice makes perfect” and she leans back over to me and whispers “no mum. Practice makes permanent”. And on that note, we preserve with achieving our goals. I have a meeting in March with my literacy agent and I will keep you updated on my progress, so in the words of Malala Yousafzai “one child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
Article By Jo Wimble-Groves
Jo Wimble-Groves is the co-owner of Active Digital, an award winning mobile telecommunications company she runs with her brother for over twenty years. Jo is also a freelance writer and a keynote speaker. Jo is a regular speaker in schools with an aim to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. As a freelance writer, Jo's views have been shared in Huffington Post Parents, InStyle UK, Guardian Careers as well as on the BBC website and Sky News. Jo also writes a blog named ‘Guilty Mother’ which has gained a large social online following on her experiences of parenthood and juggling work commitments.
Want to find out more about Jo? Why not read our interview here