What did you learn at school (and in life) today?

In addition to my neighborhood kids waiting for the school bus when I’m out walking Cody, I can also tell that it is back to school time because of the myriad Facebook posts I’ve seen in the past few weeks showing preschoolers to college freshman proudly announcing their return to the halls of learning.

Most look pretty excited or maybe a little nervous, like my great-nephew Jackson who went off to his first day just a few weeks ago. I know his parents are awfully proud of him.

No doubt, over the next few months, there will be an occasion or two when his mom or dad will ask him “what did you learn in school today?” and Jackson will share a painting or talk about his amazement about how 2 apples plus 2 apples equal 4 apples.

Along with all his learnings, however, I’m sure there will be a time when Jackson comes home and is disappointed or frustrated or maybe even mad because things didn’t go his way. Perhaps he didn’t know the answer to a question, or someone was sitting in his favorite seat, or maybe someone beat him in a race around the school yard (highly improbable as he is related to me…but it could happen!)

The real opportunity for Jackson along with millions of other young people this year is not just in what they learn in school but how they handle the challenges of school. While all of us parents want to make sure our kids are safe, it is also important to make sure that they face challenges and learn ways to overcome them. That is what life is all about.

It’s never too early to start building resilience and as I like to do when talking with young and old alike is to find out more about how they handled a particularly difficult challenge.

I know this will be an amazing year of learning for Jackson and he, along with his parents, will probably not be surprised by how well he does.

Your challenge this week: When your child or others tell you about a tough situation, explore how they approached the problem, reinforce the things they did well and help them think through how to try out some other ideas for success.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2019

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