Growing Resilience


I talk about resilience a lot.

Every time my 17-year-old daughter hears the word resilience, she says, “There’s your word, Dad!” So, in a nutshell, here what I know about building resilience in ourselves and our children.
Resilience is built in Relationships
Relationships are shaped by Reconciliation
Reconciliation is the skill of making things right
by saying “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you”
It is much easier to say: “I’m sorry” and mean it than it is to say: “I forgive you” and mean it. And yet, without forgiveness, our world stops. A lack of forgiveness stops countries sharing resources, families sharing Christmas and partners sharing a bed. Being sorry people is natural. Being forgiving people is enlightened!

So, start by saying the words “I forgive you” more often. Squeeze them into as many conversations as possible. Let people know they are loved by embracing them with forgiveness. Welcome them home.

Alongside forgiveness, offer apologies more often. It’s much better to apologise and hear, “You don’t need to apologise!” than not to apologise and risk the other person harbouring a niggle that grows into hatred. Two families in a small town hadn’t spoken to each other for generations. When a new police chief was posted to the town, he couldn’t understand the hatred and searched for an explanation. He asked everyone, including the members of the two families and no one knew the reason. The same explanation came from both camps: “We never talk to them! Our families don’t mix! They are dishonest, hurtful, horrible people!” No one knew the reason, but everyone lived the hate.

Apologise early. Apologise often. It hurts no one. In fact, it makes you the bigger person because you are willing to own your actions and admit you make mistakes. Children struggle with both sides of forgiveness unless it is modelled to them regularly. Reconciliation is a constant choice of conscience.

Once you’ve put reconciliation into full swing, your relationships will become healthy, happy and numerous. People who treat others kindly have more friends. It’s like magic. Well, not really. Everyone loves being loved!

Friendships built on forgiveness and kindness turn into deeply trusting relationships. And that’s where resilience comes from. Social researchers say people who bounce back quickly from unexpected difficulties (resilient people) have at least five significant adult relationships. That’s five emotionally healthy adults you know you can trust to eat with you, listen to you and care for you.

Resilience is a team sport. We build it together as we do life together. Invest more in your relationships, practice reconciliation, and watch your resilience — and the resilience of your children — grow, grow, grow!

“Are you busy?”

We’ve all answered this question a thousand times. In our hectic world, it’s a badge of honour to say, “Yes, very busy!”


“Busy” tops my list of least favourite four-letter words. Five years ago, I nearly destroyed my marriage and family. As we recovered, I recognised I had to prioritise relationships as the most important thing in my life. To actually put my wife and children first wasn’t easy. It meant I had to leave my busyness mindset behind. I had to change my purpose and my focus.

Now, I want people to know I am available to them – never too busy to listen or care. Of course, there are times when I have things to do. But, relationships lead to happiness and resilience. I want to be available to myself and others– even when I’ve got things to do. Pop your head into my office and no matter how ‘busy’ I may be, I remind myself that relationships come first, mentally press pause on my to-do list and invite you to come in, sit and chat for a spell.

Like busyness, availability is a state of mind. It takes a serious brain-retrain in our rush-around world to choose to be available rather than busy. But, it is possible – and highly rewarding!

Seek to be in a state of availability to self and others. Being available to others means being attentive to their needs when they show us those needs – not when we get around to it. Being available to ourselves means having awareness of our own needs and being willing to address those needs as they arise. A lack of self-awareness leads to anger, disinterest and disengagement. A lack of attentiveness to others leads to selfishness, loneliness and fragmented relationships.

When asked if I’m busy, I quickly answer, “Nope. I’m never busy.” While it isn’t always true – the quick answer reminds me of who I want to be. Then, if I’m living it that day, I offer my availability and say, “How can I help?”



Teaching Compassion

This morning I asked a year six boy what he thought the most important value was for kids. He said, “Kindness.” I asked him what kindness means to him and he said it means to be kind to other kids and then they would be kind to you. He’s on to something!



Thousands of years ago, sages in every culture taught a maxim of compassion we call the Golden Rule. “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.” This is the core reason for compassion — a knowledge that what comes around goes around.

Share and someone will share with you.

Care and someone will care for you.

Hard-wired into our early brain development, kindness is much deeper than a self-serving survival strategy. Compassion — which literally means “to suffer together” — builds strong bonds, friendships and relationships. When we feel compassion, it changes us. Our heart rate slows. Our brain releases oxytocin — the bonding hormone — and the regions of the brain responsible for empathy, caregiving, and pleasure engage. In short, being kind makes us happy.

In a world which teaches us to put ourselves first, how do we as parents teach our children to care for the needs of others? Once we get them started in compassionate behaviour, their brain’s reward system should take over and encourage them to be kind again and again.

Here are a few ideas for giving compassion a kick-start in your children:

Model Compassion: Do acts of kindness in front of your children. When you see someone drop something, pick it up and give it to them with a kind word. Help out at school functions. Hold the door for others. Always give to buskers. Back off in traffic to allow other cars to merge. After you do these things, talk about them with your children. What you did will combine with why you did it to bring compassion alive in your child’s mind.

A Family Pet: Get a pet that requires consistent but simple care — like hermit crabs or a mouse. As a family, design a list of care requirements and keep it next to the pet’s cage. Talk about the care rules as you follow them each day. After a few weeks with the pet in a shared area, move the cage and care rules into your child’s room for a weekend.

Service Activities: Get involved in activities where your family can give back to the community. Help serve at a soup kitchen. Donate a couple of hours to a local opshop. Help at working bees. Donate supplies to Breaky Club.

Values are caught not taught. Give your children the best chance to have a values-rich life by modelling and discussing the values you believe will benefit them. Start by seeing, sharing and caring for the suffering around you — this is compassion.

#8 The Jerusalem Council - Hope SS (with hot links)

1.      The challenge for the early Christian church

a)      Acts 13:42–49, why would the conversion of many Gentiles create a challenge for the early Christian church?
b)     Acts 15:1–5, the basic question: should Gentile Christians be required to follow all the Jewish laws, including circumcision?
c)      Acts 15:11, here is a clear confession that salvation comes by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why then is there such an insistence by some religious leaders regarding ceremonial laws?
d)     Why does Paul speak so sternly about these Judaizers? Galatians 1:7; Gal 2:4

2.      Circumcision

a)      Genesis 17:9–14, a sign of the covenant
b)     Exodus 12:43–49
c)      Why did Paul see an insistence on circumcision for Gentiles as a distortion of the Gospel Galatians 5:6, Romans 3:28–30
d)     How can we avoid the trap of thinking only people who are just like us can be saved?

3.      The lively discussion at the Jerusalem Council

a)      Acts 15:6–7, why is vigorous discussion and active involvement important in the Christian church? (see also Acts 6:2–6; Acts 13:1–3)
b)     Acts 15:7–11, what impresses you the most about the testimony of Peter?
c)      Acts 15:12, why is it important to listen and not just speak when you are seeking a solution to a potentially divisive problem?
d)     Acts 15:13–21, what solution did James propose?
e)     When disputes arise, how can we learn to listen to each other love and respect, and work through the issues with a spirit of humility?

4.      The Letter from Jerusalem and the Apostolic Decree

a)      Acts 15:22, what indication do you see that the group had arrived at a meaningful consensus?
b)     Acts 15:23–28, what impresses you about the way the letter is written?
c)      Acts 15:29, why do the apostles, elders, and brethren highlight the four prohibitions listed in this verse? (renunciation of paganism, outlined in Leviticus 17–18)
d)     Do these prohibitions imply issues like no idol worship (2nd commandment) or remembering the Sabbath day (4th commandment) no longer apply?
e)     Acts 15:30–33, how did the Christian believers respond to this letter from the Council in Jerusalem?

f)       What lessons can we learn from this process when dealing with challenges in the church today?

Parenting Value #1 — Reconciliation

I read an answer on Quora that made me pump my fist and say, “You tell ’em, champ!” The question was about a parent breaking an iPad because a child was addicted to a game. The parent wanted to know if breaking the iPad was overkill… Yeah, seriously.

Anyway, the answer this guy gave made me smile for a week. In short, he said his parents knew tech was the future and encouraged his gaming. They also ensured they spent lots of time doing activities as a family. Then he said, “If my parents would have broken my gaming system, I wouldn’t be working in tech today — where I make five times per year what my parents make combined.”

I’m tired of tech-bashing posts, articles and videos aimed at parents. The reason it bothers me so much is that it blames technology for family problems rather than challenging us to look in the mirror at the real problem. Technology is serving the role of both the babysitter and stable significant other for many kids. It’s not the child’s fault and it’s not tech’s fault. Kids are the victims of family angst. Tech is the fall-guy.

A lack of relationship skills is at fault. Primarily, the skill — or value — of reconciliation. We tell our kids to say sorry when they hurt someone and to forgive people when they apologise, but we often struggle to do this ourselves. Children do what we do, not what we say.

Values are caught not taught. I had a little guy in for a chat this week who I called a ‘silly monkey.’ He laughed and said, “That’s my nickname — Monkey!” And it reminded me of the three monkeys — one covering its eyes, one covering its ears, one covering its mouth. And it reminded me of my Mum shaking her head as I did another crazy thing because my friends did. “Monkey see, monkey do!” she said time and time again. We learn from watching, hearing and repeating what we see others do. We’re just like those silly monkeys!

Photo Credit
I have three kids that love their parents and each other. As a family, we regularly laugh together, play board games together, eat together and chat for hours. That said, they love their tech (as do I!) and have been tech-kids since they were in nappies. The oldest coordinated mouse-in-hand to cursor-on-screen when he was just two-years-old. He’s been at it since. Today he’s almost halfway through a Computer Science Degree in which he’s thriving. Boy two is in his first year of a Data Science Degree and thinks it’s awesome. He’s also a WOW legend! Our daughter, a budding florist, strengthens her skills by watching her favourite YouTubers and learns one creative thing after another from Pinterest, Instagram and other social media.

Dad (that’s me) has been a blogger for nearly two decades and a YouTuber (that’s what the kids at school call me! lol) for just over a decade. In just the past year, more than half-a-million people have read/listened to my content. Crazy, eh?

Tech isn’t the problem. It also isn’t the reason my kids are awesome. And, they are awesome!

They got a good start at being great people because their parents choose to suffer and succeed together. We fall. We get up. We apologise. We forgive. We mean it. We learn from our mistakes. We grow stronger. And we do these things privately, publicly and honestly — in front of our kids. They know what stupid mistakes look like. They know what huge belly laughs feel like. They apologise quickly. They forgive eagerly. They move on. Because they’ve seen it work. Loving and lovable people are good at forming and reforming relationships. Relationships are built on the ability to make things right — that’s reconciliation.

To whom do you need to apologise?

Whom do you need to forgive?

Do it. Regularly.

Let the monkeys see it and hear it — and soon they will say it too.

TECHnically Great Families

I'm tired of tech-bashing childhood research.

The reason it bothers me so much is because it blames technology for the problems caused by loss of family values and skyrocketing family breakdowns. Technology is serving the role of both the babysitter and stable significant other for many kids. It's not the kids' fault and it's not tech's fault. Kids are the victims. Tech is the fall-guy.

Photo Credit
A lack of relationship values is at fault:
Commitment.
Confession.
Forgiveness.
Reconciliation.
Here in lies the true problem.

I have three kids that love their parents, each other and have long-term friendships with non-family members.

As a family, we regularly laugh together, play board games together, eat together, and chat for hours. That said, they love their tech (as do I!) and have been tech-kids since they were in nappies. The oldest was the first one to coordinate a mouse-in-hand to cursor-on-screen when he was about 2 years old. He’s been at it since. Today he’s almost halfway through a Computer Science degree in which he’s thriving. Boy 2 is in his first year of a Data Science degree and thinks it’s awesome. He’s also a WOW legend! Our daughter, the youngest, strengthens her faith by watching her favourite Christian youtubers and learns one creative thing after another from Pintrest, Instagram and YouTube.

Dad (that's me) has been a blogger for nearly two decades and a youtuber (that's what the kids at school call me! lol) for just over a decade. In just the past year, more than half-a-million people have read/listened to my content. Crazy, eh?

Tech isn't the problem.

It also isn't the reason my kids are awesome. And, they are awesome!

They are great people because their parents suffer and succeed together. We fall. We get up. We apologise. We forgive. We mean it. We learn from our mistakes. We grow stronger. And we do these things privately, publicly and honestly - in front of our kids. They know what stupid mistakes look like. They know what huge belly laughs feel like. They apologise quickly. They forgive eagerly. Because they've seen it work.

People need to stop blaming tech and start loving each other!

A safe Australia is a values-centred Australia

Individual values shape family values. Family values shape community values. Community values shape cultural values. And cultural values shape the character of a nation. Australia is not the safe place it was a generation or two ago. Due to changes in cultural cohesion, community involvement and family structure; what it means to be Australian is shifting and in the process we are losing focus on our shared values. In short, we are no longer able to articulate what it means to be Australian.

Because values provide the foundational core of culture, The Australia Government is doing everything they can to help us find ourselves. This is why schools have values statements, buddy systems and peer mentoring for the students and programs like Real Schools for teachers and staff. It’s also why schools have chaplains, mentors, councillors and well-being officers.

US President Theodore Roosevelt said, “To educate a person in mind and not morals is to educate a menace to society.” A safe Australia is a values-centred Australia. We know this! Not only do values keep us safe, they play a key role in our happiness, wellbeing and success. But, where do they come from? How do we develop values?

Values are caught not taught. We develop our values by watching and participating with other people. Values transfer from one person to another through relational pathways. The stronger the relationship, the more likely we will embody the values lived out by the other person. For most children, parents are their primary relationships and thus the strongest source for their values. Significant family members are also relational values givers. Those we value most provide most of our values.

As a parent, if we want to raise children with holistic healthy values, we need to know our core values and live by them. To do this, we need to take our own values seriously. Sit down and make a list. What are my core values? Why do I have these values? How do I live by these values and how will I ensure I live by them in the future?

A list of commonly held values is a good place to start. Values specialist Michael Gurian suggests ten moral competencies all humans need: decency, fairness, empathy, self-sacrifice, responsibility, loyalty, duty, service, honesty and honour. Happiness guru Martin Seligman adds humility, self-control, love of learning, industriousness, leadership, caution and playfulness. Parenting experts Linda and Richard Eyre continue the list with courage, peaceability, self-reliance, dependability, respect, love, unselfishness and mercy.

An honest personal values list will have just a handful of values. Although more confronting, reverse engineering your list will give you the most honest results. Instead of picking your values from a list; look at the actions, activities and communities in which you are regularly involved. Why are you involved in these things? Your core-values will likely be at the heart of the reasons why you dedicate time and energy to these things.

Once you’ve generated your list, talk about it. Notice when one of your values is lived-out by one of your children and tell them what you’ve seen in them. Put a name to the actions you want to see. Celebrate your values in action!

One by one, both you and your child will become all you hope to be. And Australia will be better for it!

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...