Learning Resilience from Plants

Plants cover large parts of the world. They are present in our sidewalks, backyards, and gardens, playing important roles in the ecosystem and being undoubtedly essential for the lives of humans and animals alike.

Aside from providing the air we breathe, plants also show resilience, as they flourish and grow wherever, from sidewalk cracks and walls to garden centers in Minnesota. Plants can also withstand the dryness of droughts and the abundance of water during floods, with scientists now observing and testing how resilient plants can be with ongoing climate change and extreme weather conditions.

Resilience Among People

If plants can withstand harsh conditions such as natural disasters, humans can also show resilience in facing life’s many setbacks by learning resilience in early life. Like plants, we can grow anywhere even in the face of adversity. Unlike plants that show resiliency thanks to nature, though, we have to learn this important life skill early on.

Rethinking Resilience

Many people would think resilience is being able to return to ordinary life after experiencing a major setback. This is correct, but the definition can mean much more. Instead of just focusing on returning to a previous state of mind, we can view resilience as becoming stronger and learning from our setbacks, helping us become more self-aware and find new ways to solve problems. A plant does not stop growing in the face of a natural threat, so we should adopt that mindset, as well.

Developing Resilience

Child hugging mother

It is easier and more ideal to cultivate resilience in children, but this should not stop the grown-ups from developing this trait, too. Here are ways parents can help kids become more resilient.

  • Be Exposed to Challenges and Learn from Failures – Resilience cannot be built with the absence of difficulty. Parents should encourage children to try out difficult things and accept that failure is part of the learning process. Applying this in everyday situations can help kids be more active problem-solvers and learn to never give up. Facing defeat can be hard, but can lead to finding strategies for positive results.
  • Provide the Proper Assistance – Parents should not jump in and instantly fix problems for their children and instead, allow them their own space in finding solutions while offering some guidance. Scaffolding is a technique for guidance: When a child rides a bike the first time, there are training wheels involved. Gradually, the wheels of support disappear and the child is able to ride the bicycle on his own.

The Lessons Learned

After experiencing difficulty or setback, children may feel less motivated and brought down. Parents can take this time to discuss with them how these things are normal and how to make sense of them, as well as talking about strategies and support that can be done the next time. Those who fail an exam, for example, can learn that their lack of studying brought them to fail. After parents talk to them about studying more and preparing better, children can implement these steps to avoid failure in the future.

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