Resilient families are more likely to take up challenges and be better at coping with the ups and downs of life, an advocacy group for families has said.
The theme for this year’s National Families Week, which takes place between May 15 and 21, is “living real, dreaming big” and is all about building resilience in families.
Now in its 20th year, the week was an initiative started by Families Australia, a not-for-profit organisation providing policy advice to the federal government to improve the wellbeing of families.
The week, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, aims to celebrate the “vital role that families play in Australian society”, according to Families Australia’s website.
CEO of Families Australia Jamie Crosby said resilience is a skill people can develop individually but can also be gained from others.
“If one individual is having a tough time or day, or they’re struggling to take on a new skill or activity… that resilience comes from other people providing a little bit of support and guidance as those new challenges are taken on,” he told Hope 103.2.
“If (children) don’t have resilience, they’re going to actually think (problems are) everyone’s fault rather than theirs,” – Brett Ryan, CEO of Focus on the Family Australia
Teaching resilience to children
Focus on the Family Australia, a not-for-profit organisation providing resources for churches, Christian schools and individuals to develop God-honouring families, has created a two-part series on resilience.
CEO Brett Ryan said resilience is currently a “buzz word” but is a valuable skill for children to have.
“We want our kids to be able to bounce back and have capabilities and tools within them to say “I may not be the smartest, I may have fallen down but I’m going to keep getting up, dusting myself off and keep on running,” he told Hope 103.2.
“If they don’t have resilience, they’re going to actually think (problems are) everyone’s fault rather than theirs.
“Teaching our kids to be more responsible for their actions and words actually prepares them for later and equips them for being able to cope with stress.”
Resilience and stewardship
Mr Ryan believes that teaching children resilience is part of the responsibility God has given parents.
“We have been given the incredible privilege to steward children… part of that role and responsibility is to prepare them to deal with life,” he said.
“We know life will throw them curveballs and, to celebrate that, we are to count it all joy when going through life and tribulations.
“We’re not meant to live a perfect life – the Bible says we will go through difficulties and we need to equip our children now for when they get older.”
“Safe secure and well-supported families are the building blocks of our community,” – Jamie Crosby, CEO of Families Australia
Why families matter
Families are essential to society, according to Mr Crosby.
“Safe secure and well-supported families are the building blocks of our community; we know that parents who are well supported and… have access to the resources they need are the best places for young children and infants to thrive.”
While, Mr Ryan believes that families come in “different shapes and sizes and they should all be celebrated”.
“They all matter and, as followers of Christ, we know that families are the bedrock or the foundation of a healthy community and a healthy society.”
Mr Ryan believes that families come in “different shapes and sizes and they should all be celebrated”.
Challenges of families
Some of the challenges facing families today include financial stress, families disintegrating and poor mental health, according to Mr Ryan.
“We’re the most technologically connected we’ve ever been but the most relationally disconnected because we spend so much time on devices rather than face-to-face.”
He said one of the unique challenges of our times is a lack of enthusiasm.
“There’s a higher level of apathy than we’ve ever had before and I think that’s the greatest epidemic of this time… saying ‘this is as good as it’s going to get, why bother trying any harder?’.”
Families can tackle this challenge by embracing community life, he said.
“We’re not meant to do life in isolation, we’re meant to do things in community; so, find communities around you to help cheer you on and encourage you.
“Lean into God – He wants the best for me and He is on my team and He gave and sacrificed His life for us so that we can live our life to the full.”