The Best Way to Build Resilience in Your Children

Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a setback.

Some setbacks can be overcome easily, others take time. Why do some people bounce back quickly from an unexpected setback while others seem to get swallowed up?

Heaps of research has been done on what builds resilience. In short, the answer is - the more experience, the more resilience. But here's where things get interesting. It doesn't need to be your own experience. The people around you grow your resilience if you know their stories.

Amazingly, our brains do the same thing with stories we are told as they do with our own experiences. First, we receive the story. Then, we interpret the story. Finally, the interpreted story is stored with hundreds of emotional tags - good, bad, funny, angry, success, failure, happy, sad, lesson learned, random occurrence, etc.

Experience. Relationships. Stories. These three things combine to provide numerous memories of hitting bottom and getting back up. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes slowly. Resilience comes when a person encounters a setback and digs back in their memory - into their story satchel: "Is there a story that relates to this setback?" Our subconscious scans through the tags and says, "Aha! This is like that!" And we begin to make sense of this new struggle. Or, a storyless subconscious sends back, "Nope. Nothing to work with. This is a new low." This is when resilience is hardest.

As parents, it is important to tell stories of both successes and failures. When we share success stories, the point is implied: "I tried, I won!" When we tell struggle stories, the point (resilience) is made in the way we tell the story. It gives little hope to a child to hear, "I failed high school Maths because it was too hard." A resilient telling of the same occasion could be, "I failed high school maths because I was still learning. I had to get some help and practice lots. But then, when the next exam came, I was ready for it!" Or, in my case, I shift the focus (because maths and my brain are from different planets) and say, "Maths is really hard for me. But I love to write. When I was in high school, I did my best on the maths classes I had to take but I took lots of extra English classes because I love writing. I was even the yearbook editor in year 12!"

The important thing is to tell lots of stories. Failure is important. It shows our kids they can make it because we did. Kids who believe their parents are perfect believe their parents expect perfection from them.

Life is not about perfection, it's about connection. Build resilience in your children by blanketing them in story.

Significant Adults: Surround your children with well-storied people. Explain your goal to build resilient kids to these significant adults. Ask them to share stories with your children. Thank them for helping!

Storytelling Parents: Tell your children stories of your own. Your setbacks, struggles and successes will empower them to make wise decisions and to bounce back from whatever life throws at them.

Resilient Kids: Finally challenge your kids to build stories of their own. Overcoming small setbacks gets us ready to overcome big ones later in life.

The best way to build resilience in your kids? Surround them with stories. Their own, yours and the stories of people they love.

Solving the Loneliness Epidemic by Opting Out

Values, identity and resilience once came from our Church Community and our Family Faith. Now, both church and family are relics of the past for most westerners.

Secular Primary/Secondary Schools are facing this head on. Governments (at least the one here in Australia) know intrinsic values result in extrinsic behaviour. Due to the lack of values coming from the historical sources — healthy nuclear families and community creating churches — schools are being challenged to run ‘values programs’ and teach positive identity and emotional resilience to students. Many schools have creedal statements centring around their desired values. The clear hope is that the next generation of adults will be less self-centred, disrespectful and lawless.

It is often said that ‘It takes a village to raise a child’… But the villages are empty. People are flocking to the cities. In cities, community gets swallowed up by cacophony. Without healthy relationships at the core of cohesive communities, we will not see other-centredness in the village square.

More people need to decide the relationships they are in are worth saving and savouring. Throwing a person or an organisation away because your views have changed is sending you down the path of loneliness with the rest of the west.

Right now, the default is to join the cubicle conglomeration: a collection of secluded self-actualised humans living in tiny cardboard boxes jammed-up against other boxes of other success-driven self-made men and women.

Buck the system. Leave the conglomeration and join a congregation. Find a spouse and get married. Then stick around through thick and thin. Build a family. Join a church. Face life together. Create something together today worth living in together tomorrow.

What is The Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Wikipedia summarises the Gospel this way:
In Christianity, the gospel (Greek: εὐαγγέλιον euangélion; Old English: gospel), or the Good News, is the news of the coming of the Kingdom of God, and of Jesus's death on the cross and resurrection to restore people's relationship with God.

What is the ultimate purpose of the coming of Jesus?

Why is this Good News?

The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia summarises the Gospel this way:
The central truth of the gospel is that God has provided a way of salvation for men through the gift of His son to the world. He suffered as a sacrifice for sin, overcame death, and now offers a share in His triumph to all who will accept it. The gospel is good news because it is a gift of God, not something that must be earned by penance or by self-improvement.

How did the gift of God’s Son provide salvation? (3 points)

Why is this Good News?

Salvation for a Doomed World - John 3:16-18
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

What is the default position of humanity?

How did God’s Love solve this problem without forcing people to accept it?

What must we do to be saved?

Why is this Good News?

Paul’s Declaration – Romans 1:16
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”

What is the point of the Gospel?

Paul’s Explanation - 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, . . . the twelve . . . five hundred . . . James . . . the apostles; and . . . me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I laboured even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

What is of “First Importance” in understanding the Gospel?

1. Jesus _ _ _ _ for our _ _ _ _ (according to scripture)

2. Jesus was _ _ _ _ _ _ on the Third day (according to Scripture)

Paul tells the Jesus story, the impact it had on others and then the way it changed his life. How is Jesus’ death for your sins and his defeat of death Good News for you?

Group 1
Read Acts 16:25-34

Spend time in your group writing out what you think was said in Verse 32.
Prepare to share this as a story.

Why did the Gospel mean so much to the jailer?

Group 2
Read Acts 8:26-38

Spend time in your group writing out what you think was said in Verse 35.

Prepare to share this as a story.

Why did the Gospel mean so much to the eunuch?

Personal Sharing of the Good News of Jesus Death and Resurrection
What would your answer be to a friend who says:

Why do you follow Jesus?

Why should I follow Him?

Being the Body of Jesus

Why Everyone IS Leaving the Church and Why They SHOULD BE

The reason the church is emptying through the back door, front door, windows and floorboards is simple. But it isn’t obvious. It’s simple because it’s just a matter of knowing Jesus. It lacks clarity, however, because there are more versions of Jesus than denominations. No wonder Jesus prayed for his followers to be one as He and his Father are One!

The Purpose of the Church

Contrary to the bumper sticker:
The church is not meant to be a hospital, but it often is.

Contrary to the record keepers:
The church is not meant to be an institution, but it often is.

According to Jesus:
The church is a body — one body. Well, it’s meant to be.
The church — the body of Christ — is Jesus’ chosen way to be active in today’s world.

The easiest place to see Jesus’ purpose is in his own actions. Understanding Jesus’ purpose then will help us understand the role of the church now.

Jesus’ Body

When Jesus was living on earth, he bodily served and savoured marginalised people and called religious people to drop the act.

When he was dying, Jesus’ body was broken for the lost — those besmudged and buried in sin. If you’ve hung with him, you’ve heard Jesus say, “You will be with me in Paradise.”

When his body died, everyone lost hope. Some left town.

When Jesus rose, his body walked through walls into places he wasn’t expected, a hint of things to come. Every meal — in every house — became a statement about his act of salvation. A reminder to some. An invitation to all.

When Jesus ascended, his body disappeared. Like the disciples then, we often need to hear, “Why do you stare into the sky? He will return. Now go — be His body.”

When the Spirit came, his body — the church — was in Jerusalem, praying in a small room. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ body spoke in many languages and baptised thousands on the first day of the Way.

In Jerusalem, his body brushed up against the religious leaders and told them to drop the act. Then leaving Jerusalem, his body was sent to serve and savour the marginalised.

The first outside convert was an outlier in every regard — a foreigner, a slave, a eunuch. The Spirit found him reading aloud from the Holy Scriptures in a chariot. This may not strike you across the face as firmly it should.

So, let’s reverse through it slowly: (In first-century Jewish understanding, this story is one blasphemy after another.)

Location: This Scripture reading was not in a synagogue but a chariot.
Reader: This Scroll was not being held by a Jewish Rabbi but an unwashed foreigner.
Learning: It was not being read with historical knowledge but scriptural ignorance.
Purity: This man was a eunuch. Eunuchs were not allowed in the Temple. Not allowed to be included in Jewish worship. Certainly not allowed to touch Holy Scripture. And yet, here he is — a gender-reassigned slave, touching and reading Scripture while bouncing along in his foreign queen’s chariot.

The Clincher: The Holy Spirit — knowing all this — sent Philip to catch this precise chariot. Not to tell the foreign eunuch he shouldn’t be touching, reading or questioning Holy Scripture but to tell him the rest of the story — the whole story starting with the passage he was reading. To tell him Jesus died to remove his record of sinfullness and make him — just the way he was — right with the Almighty God. Eternal life and freedom from sin was his, if he wanted it. The telling of this Good News — by the church, the body of Jesus — outside Jerusalem, throughout Judea and into all the world starts here. With a conversation. And it ends with a baptism. All in one day.

The Church: In this mission launching event, the Holy Spirit blew out the religious cobwebs and threw open the church doors. Peter’s night-time struggle with a sheet full of meat pales in comparison with this first conversion! This is what the Body of Jesus is all about. There are no limits to where the story of Jesus can reach. Jesus came to earth to save you and me while we were still sinners, and now he sends us to tell everyone His story.

Good news for the lost in a broken world.
The dying outsiders with real need.
Those who have yet to hear.
The whole story.

This is what the Body of Jesus does.
This is what the true church does.

Why They Leave

When people leave the church, it is because they have not experienced the body of Jesus. They’ve been a victim of mistaken identity — people playing church while outsiders cry out for something to make sense of the senseless pain, suffering and brokenness of life.

Why They Come

The Good News shared in the chariot that day still works. It is still needed. God loves by nature. God forgave you before you asked. Right now, God is holding His hand out calling — and His call is heard when the body of Jesus, his church, knows their purpose. Then hand in hand, two walk into the church where one walked out.

More Good News

You don’t need a degree, a Bible study training course, a script or a secret prayer to get started. Those doing the caring and sharing aren’t perfect. You’re ready right now. All you need is your story of how you met Jesus.

Just like the eleven staring into the sky, some of us still doubt. Like Peter denying; we question our own worthiness and readiness. Like Thomas doubting; we question the nature and nurture of Jesus Himself.

Like the Apostles, we question the meat in the sheet. The worthiness of the hands holding Scripture, the untrained voice reading aloud. The readiness of the eunuch in the river, the sincerity of the baptiser.

Some of us, looking at the ascending body of Jesus, still doubt. His solution? Get us busy. Give us a mission. Go — be His body. Baptising. Teaching. Obeying. Until he comes.

Such an embodiment of Jesus today is a hard place to find but an impossible place to abandon. So, let’s build it. Let’s be it.

Eat everything in the sheet. Drop the act!
Chase a chariot for the Holy Spirit! Tell Jesus’ whole story.
Then come home and testify to the glory of God sweeping the world.

One by one, we’ll shake the saints out of the pews and into the true work of the body of Jesus.

The goal of the church isn’t to stop people from leaving but to set them firmly in Jesus’ mission before they go. Then, they will go tell Jesus’ story. And return with a new friend. Go. Return. Go. Return. Winning the world for Jesus — one chariot conversation at a time!

change your habits without obsessing about them

Forming Healthy Habits

You can change your habits without obsessing about them by focusing on your environment and rituals. Let me explain.


Life is all about habits. Both success and failure are formed by our habits. Repetition is the primary way we learn. We become the things we do repetitively — these are our habits.

Growth: We build habits to achieve goals. This is how we get better at anything — try, try, try again. The more we practise, the more our success. How many times has your favourite AFL player kicked a footy? hundreds of thousands of times, no doubt. Likewise: catching, bouncing, passing and running. That’s why they are professionals!

Stagnation: We also form habits of ease or comfort. They make us feel safe. If it makes me happy, I do it. If it relaxes me, I do it. If I do it repeatedly, a habit forms and can be hard to change. Selfish habits can lead to poor relationships or poor health.


The easiest way to change a bad habit is to form a new one to replace it.
The easiest way to form a new habit is to change your environment.

Take Footy/Xbox for example: If you want to spend more time practising footy skills, spend more time on an oval with friends and a ball. It’s hard to play Xbox or watch TV on an oval. So, spending more time on an oval changes two habits — replacing one with the other — by changing the environment.


Another way to successfully change a habit is to combine it with a ritual you enjoy. Time with a friend/partner/child. A trip to the shops. Going out for coffee. Driving.

Use your rituals to build better habits:
What more exercise? Park further from the shops — or walk from home.
Want to read more? Take a book to a coffee house and switch your phone off.
Want to learn something new? Listen to an audiobook while driving.
Want to run/walk regularly? Ask your friend/partner/child to join you.


Mythologist Joseph Campbell is best known for his statement: ‘follow your bliss’ — an invitation taken to heart by many young people seeking life’s purpose. Near the end of his life, Campbell quipped, ‘I wish I’d said follow your blisters.’ He’d learned, as we all do, that our time-worn habits are what shape our greatest attributes.

Most people hate changing habits. Focusing on the habit itself can be overwhelming and disheartening. But, choosing our environment and strengthening our rituals can be fun and will cause habits to fall into place without hardly thinking about them.

Defeating the Deceptions - SS Lesson Guide for Week 9

The Messiah vs the Deceiver

Read Matthew 4:1–11

How did Jesus defeat the deceptions of Satan? (By knowing and quoting Scripture)

The Bible gives us glimpses of the deceptions that will come our way in the end times. Yet we need not fear these deceptions. Why? (We have the Bible and more than just quotable truths, we have the Truth Himself!)

What does knowing and believing in Jesus the True Messiah do for us in these End Times? (give us hope and freedom from all kinds of fears, pains and deceptions)

The evidence from Scripture is clear: Jesus is real. And So it the enemy. Satan is real. Yet many do not believe he exists. Why?

What does the above story show us about Satan's existence and purpose? (He's out to destroy Jesus)
How does Satan continue his attack today? (Revelation 12:17)

What warning does Jesus give in Matthew 24:4? It is relevant today? Why?

What is the only way to recognise the deceptions of Matthew 24:24? (Know the true Messiah!)

How do we "know Jesus" as the true Messiah? (relationship, testimony, prayer and study)

The Work of Satan

What does Satan’s deceptive work look like? 2 Thessalonians 2:9–10, Revelation 12:9, Matthew 24:4-5

Just as Jesus faced the Devil's deceptions with scripture, so can we. What scriptural truths can you think of that prepare us to face these things? (have the people who read the above texts skim them again and see if the rest of the group can come up with scriptural concepts to defeat them.)

While knowing these things is useful, what do we have that is even greater and cannot be defeated? (Jesus! The Truth shall set you free indeed!)

Worship, Work and Image Bearing

Read Mark 12:13-17
When Jesus says, "Give God what is Gods" the jaws of his listeners hit the floor. Why? Where is he expecting the minds of his questioners to be drawn? When was an image 'stamped' on humanity?

Read Genesis 1:26-27
How important is it that we are created "in God's image"? (It's repeated three times!)

What happens when we forget whose image we were created in? What two extremes can it lead to? (self-righteousness, godlessness)

What does the first Creation story (Genesis 1:1) tell us about the Source of life on Earth? (We have a Creator! We are not alone.)

Why is the Sabbath such an important reminder in a world where many have abandoned the idea of a Creator God? Genesis 2:1–3

Humanity's first full day was a day of worship. In the lives of God's image-bearers, work follows worship. What impact does a Sabbath spent in worship have on the work week which follows? (During our work, God is our focus. We act like Him: love, justice, mercy, compassion, forgiveness).

Sabbath is a day of image-renewal. With the image of God renewed within us, what impact will we have for Him during the week? (our love for God will radiate in the world as we work, drawing others to Jesus)

Click here for a more in-depth article on Genesis 1 and what it teaches us about our image-bearing purpose.

Switching on the Light in a Dark World

In many areas of life, it is true that: "It's now what you know but who you know that counts." How does this apply to defeating the Devil's deceptions? (More than we can ever know!)

Read 2 Corinthians 4:4-6
Where would we be without the glory revealed in Jesus' face? (lost, in our sin)

When Jesus' face shines upon us, the Lights come on! The image in which we were created is revitalised within us. How does this impact our interactions with others?

How does Paul use the Creation story to empower believers? (2 Cor 4:6)

Based on 2 Cor 4:4, people who do not know the Gospel are blind, how do you treat blind people when they are nearby? (with compassion)
What if you know the blind person walking past, do you expect them to recognise you and start a conversation? How might this apply to the way we treat those who do not yet know the Good news of Jesus? (Let them know you are standing there, in the darkness. Start conversations!)

How can we best help others who are being deceived? (by knowing and loving Jesus)

A careful look at the pointy end of Genesis 1

After five ‘good’ days, God’s Creation became ‘very good’ as He shaped His Image-bearers. During this first Creation narrative, things increase in meaning and purpose. On the first three days, environments were created. The next three were spent filling those environs with life. Midday on day six, God finished the filling of the earth, paused, and “saw that it was good” (Gen 1:25). Following this pregnant pause, God began His final work. He conceived of, created and commissioned humanity.

We were created in His Image.

But then God throws in another day, seemingly as a bonus. A day ‘set-apart’ where we, His ‘set apart’ Image-bearing creation, worship Him. In honouring this day of Image-recreation humanity recognises the Sabbath is not a bonus for a week well spent but the beginning of a week well focused. Eyes fixed on our Creator, His Image is renewed in us. Our identity is formed, reformed and we are empowered for a week of work. Worship alone forms our identity.

Good and very good things are not what we were created to worship.

Good and very good things define our work. Not our worship.

Day 7 was not good or very good. It was ‘set-apart’ from all the good and very good things of Creation. Sabbath is set apart from the days of work. It is a day set apart from Creation week as we are set apart as unique in Creation. Day 6 was a very good day that followed the good days of the rest of Creation. But the day 7 was especially marked — not as good or very good — but as ‘holy’. And we, His Image-bearers, are made new as we glorify and glory in Him on this 7th day.

Our work is not our purpose.

Worship is our purpose.

Sabbath was created immediately after humanity. The stage was set. The set was filled. And then, as the final creative act of Day 6, “God created mankind in his own image” (Gen 1:27). Then the sun set, and the Sabbath began.

We were created in God’s Image and that Image was of utmost importance to God when He created the world. Everything in Creation points us toward our day together with God.

The first full day of life for humanity was day 7 — the Sabbath.

Worship came the first. Work came second. Put the other way around, we become workaholics worshiping our own achievements. We were made to worship God and to gain our identity from that worship. We become that which we behold most passionately — this is worship.

After a Sabbath-day of worship, with the Image of God renewed and revitalised, we are sent out to work for the next six days. Our glory comes from His glory. Our purpose comes from His purpose. Our identity comes from His love for us and in us.

In New Testament lingo, Jesus was Lord of the Sabbath before He was Lord of the Harvest. But He is Lord of both.

Renewed in Image-identity we are sent forth to be blessed as we work. God is not absent during the week but present in each act of generosity, kindness, mercy and justice that His Love brings forth in us and through us. Some Jewish scholars say, this ever-present nature of God is the reason that, unlike the other six days of Creation, day seven is not finished with “and God saw that it was…” This day, they suggest, introduced God to mankind and He is forever with them, from one Sabbath to the next. For God’s Image-bearers, the six days of work are as much a God-thing as the day of rest.

God’s work results in rest, our worship results in work. In our worship His Image is renewed within us, in our work His Image is revealed through us. This is the point of the first Creation story: The Image of God was created in us and the work of God is revealed through us.

Commenting on the image stamped on a Roman coin, Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.” Then, looking deep into the eyes of the Jewish scholars who posited the question, Jesus said, “And give to God what belongs to God” (Matthew 22:21).

When Jesus directed people back to Creation, His intent was the same as the original intent — to renew the Image of God in His people and to send them into the world to reveal God through their work and how they interact with others.

When we reach back to the Creation story, we need to ensure we conclude what God concluded — that the day ‘set apart’ from the good and very good days around it is a day for Image-recreation. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). Sabbath is a day for making and remaking mankind.

The purpose of the first Creation story (Genesis 1:1–2:3) is to remind the people of God of their Creator in whose Image they are made and to remind us to renew our Image-identity through a Sabbath of rest and worship. Grounded in any other way, we lead away from God.

We make Genesis 1 say less — far less — when we make it say other than this:

So God created mankind in his own image,
 in the image of God he created them;
 male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

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,...