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BUILDING RESILIENCEDid You Know? Pattern recognition is our 'fast thinking'. The part of our brain used for pattern recognition is our limbic system. You can think of this as autopilot and things we do day in and day out without much thinking. Pattern recognition helps us to be efficient and does not require much cognitive energy.
Critical thinking is our 'slow thinking'. The part of our brain used for critical analysis is our pre-frontal cortex. This takes much more cognitive energy. During the pandemic, many of the things in our life that were routine and required little thought and energy suddenly shifted and required critical analysis. We were constantly having to slow down our thinking and analyze many of the choices we had to make each day. Contagious Resilienceby Lauren Seaberg, Lower Primary Counselor Contagious resilience is what Chris O'Shaughnessy called his latest talk at a recent parent event. Chris is a world-renowned speaker, comedian, and author, and is a master at using the power of storytelling to share his knowledge. For children who have spent the majority of their lives experiencing a stressful pandemic environment, resilience is crucial. So how can we effectively develop resilience in our children?
Chris provided HKIS parents with the language and framework to understand the many different types of resilience: emotional, relational, motivational, behavioral, and cognitive. One of the things the pandemic did was shift our thinking from pattern recognition or ‘fast thinking’ to critical analysis or ‘slow thinking’. As a result of this change, many of us felt (and still feel) higher levels of anxiety and exhaustion. Students couldn't wait to "high-five" Chris O'Shaughnessy after he spoke to them about building resilience.Resilience grows like our muscles. With repeated exposure to increasing levels of difficulty, we can strengthen our resilience. As parents, we always want to protect our children. If we think of resilience growing in this way, we can better understand why we sometimes need to allow our children to work through struggles and frustrations. These opportunities help our children cultivate both empathy and resilience.
Chris also worked with Grade 1 and Grade 2 students during his visit. He taught about story cycles: adventure, difficulty, recovery, and adjustment. Chris shared a very engaging story with students that had laughter echoing down the hallways. Students learned that when they are in difficulty, it won't last forever. They can make efforts to move to recovery, adjustment, and more adventures. He also reminded students that growing resilience takes practice. Some strategies include planning ahead, self-care, learning from our difficulties, asking for and giving help, and looking ahead. Since resilience is contagious, students then had the opportunity to spread resilience by illustrating and writing their own stories of overcoming difficulty. There was a big turnout of faculty members eager to hear Chris O'Shaughnessy conduct a resilience workshop for adults.I am a believer that stories bring us together and connect us. Chris O'Shaughnessy’s stories had a powerful impact on how we think about the health and wellbeing of our children.