Is resilience just a buzzword?

New ideas and concepts can easily get taken up by groups and the media and quickly become buzzwords, without our knowing quite what they are. Resilience is one such concept, and many schools are teaching it to students and using it as a backdrop to much of their PSE (personal, social and economic education) teaching.

Quite rightly too, but do you know what resilience means? And why does this need to be built into our children’s learning?

Over recent decades Britain has been known for its stoicism and stiff upper lip. In marking the centenary of the First World War one thing that stood out was that the father or grandfather who fought in the trenches never talked about his experience. They might have been traumatised, but if they were, we didn’t hear about it. We had a similar generation from the Second World War, including evacuated children, citizens bombed and European refugees, and yet the post-War generation is characterised by picking themselves up, rebuilding and getting on with things. How did they do that? Was it because, ‘That’s what everybody did’, or was it because they didn’t know that life could/should be so much better that they accepted their experience – and so got on to make life better?

So why, when we have had nothing as big as a war happening to us, do we seem to have more anxiety and problems with mental health among our young today?

We know about some of the contributory factors, including the way friendships go wrong, social media and school pressures, and Bounceability tackles some of these things. But the resilience of the 20th Century isn’t going to serve us well any more. We aren’t rebuilding a whole population that will toe the ‘Let’s get on with it’ line. For good or ill, we are individualistic and so we need a much greater range of responses to help us cope with modern day challenges.

That’s what resilience, in Bounceability terms means: Learning the appropriate response to a challenging situation. Choosing from a range of tools – like that’s exercising, taking control of our thoughts, talking to helpful people – gives us modern day resilience.