Last year we met with about 60 teens from Holy Trinity CYO program. We left feeling inspired and full of hope about their resilience and ability to cope with tough times.These are some of the losses and tough times they named:
- My dad died
- My parents divorced
- My uncle committed suicide
- Both my grandparents died
- My best friend moved away
- My sister died
- My grandmother died
- My parents separated
- I have no memory of my family being happy
- My friends stopped being my friends
- I have an eating disorder and am depressed
- I moved here and left my friends behind
- I got an F on my test.
And then this is what they said they do when dealing with a loss or a tough time:
- Talk to my friends
- Talk to my family
- Talk to my brother, sister, cousin, grandparent, coach….
- Listen to music
- Play basketball
- Write about it
Exactly! Talk, move, play, write…
- Talk to a friend, family member or trusted adult instead of isolating yourself.
- Listen to music, write music, play music. Or paint, draw, sculpt, create. The arts have the power to soothe, transform, heal and give hope. They provide a vehicle for expressing our emotions and thoughts in healthy ways.
- Getting physical by playing ball, going for a walk or run, riding a bike, or doing sports help us discharge the kinetic energy in our bodies that accompanies difficult emotions. By discharging the energy in health ways, we can then feel and express our feelings more easily. This helps us cope.
- Write in a journal, write a letter to the person you miss or hate or love, write poetry, a short story or your memoir. Get it out and write it down.
We ended by asking ”is resilience something you have to born with or can it be learned? “You can learn it they said!” they said. And they are right.
So if you thought you either had to be born resilient to be resilient, listen to these kids! Talk, move, play, write. Ask for help. Get support. Learn about available resources.
Imagine is a free year-round children’s grief support center that serves NJ children age 3-18 and young adults 18-30 who are grieving the death of a parent or sibling, or who are living with a parent of sibling with a life-altering illness. Imagine also provides grief education and training for thousands of teachers, parents, coaches, youth and other adults annually.
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