Did school prepare you for life?

Did school even prepare you for life at school?

For those of us with a privileged upbringing (a family who loves us, financial stability, a strong social network etc.), we can get caught into thinking our lives will be on an upward trajectory, always.

It won’t.

Bullying, social isolation, relationship breakups, job losses, death of a loved one, health problems. We’ll experience some or all of these during our lives.

As a young person, it’s hard to think beyond the present. When we do it’s generally about things we want, things we look forward to and things we expect from life.

When life throws us a challenge or trauma, we’re unprepared. It wasn’t part of the plan.

These events cause internal turmoil.

We’re aware of our emotions but can’t express them.

We’re aware of our pain but can’t move it.

We’re aware of stress but can’t cope.

If traumatic events are unavoidable, why weren’t we warned at a young age? Why weren’t we given the tools to prepare?

Learning about resilience and practicing the techniques that build it helps us like practice helps an athlete; we train our body and mind, sometimes for years, in preparation for an event. When the challenge arises, we’re ready.

In the past, resilience was an unconscious biproduct of showing up to school day after day. Because resilience wasn’t fostered and practiced in a caring and positive environment, students endured rather than flourished.

Today, resilience programs for students gives them a head start. The downs in life aren’t swept under the carpet. They’re talked about and prepared for. Vulnerability is seen as a strength. Skills are developed to a point where participants are confident they can handle life’s toughest hurdles with determination, compassion and positivity.

As adults, we have hindsight. We’ve lived through many challenges and know there are many to come. We also know that to live a full life we need to appreciate the good times and learn from the bad.

If you work with young people, or have a son or daughter at home, start the conversation. It doesn’t have to be frightening or morbid, just real.

Of course, the learning might start in school, but it doesn’t finish there.

We can all practice wellbeing techniques that work, adding more tools to our resilience toolbox for when we need them.

Expecting the unexpected is a cliché. But that’s life.

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