As a parent, your mission is to prepare your children to handle the pressures of adulthood. My wife and I have discovered if there is one human trait which helps to navigate all life’s stages, it is resilience.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back, move forward, and learn from setbacks in life. The greatest gift you can give your child is learning how to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow as a result. Sounds to you like common sense? How you do this may be surprising.
The foundation for developing resilience in your child is threefold:
- To develop resilience in your own life.
- To allow your child the freedom to make mistakes, the security to learn from them, and the opportunity to move forward.
- To let your children see you make mistakes and learn from them with vulnerability.
Building Resilience in Children
It’s ideal to strike a balance. Open communication with your children. Sharing your mistakes and lessons. Shielding them from information that may create unnecessary insecurity. The back-to-school season has many opportunities to build resilience in yourself and your children. This season presents new challenges and, sometimes, disheartening failures.
Here’s an example of what I mean. When our daughter Hannah was entering high school, she dreamt of playing field hockey with her friends. Traveling to and from games together. Playing was an athletic endeavor, but to Hannah, it was so much more.
Imagine her heartbreak when, days before school started, she was cut from the team. As a young woman who had always achieved that to which she set her mind to, she was despondent. My wife, Paula, and I, were saddened right along with her!
But we encouraged our daughter to look at this experience to expand her horizons that year. To look for new activities to fill her after school hours. She found a new love in the school newspaper.
She began writing and photographing for the paper. She made new friends along the way. All the while, learning about and honing a talent she didn’t know she possessed.
Getting cut from the team was hard. But Hannah ended up pursuing a degree in Journalism at Quinnipiac University. Although she did not pursue Journalism as a career, she did continue with photography and started her own photography business. This was a path she might not have taken had she not had to face a failure and been encouraged to grow through it.
When your child makes a mistake, celebrate the opportunity to learn. Let go of reinforcing the “wrongness” of the experience. Remember, some of the most successful people on the planet failed first. What made them an ultimate success? They had the resilience and support to recognize that failure was part of the journey and to keep going.
Estate Planning and Resilience
So how does estate planning fit into developing resilience in your children? Resilience comes when your children know that you love and accept them. No matter what happens, you will always be there for them.
It is that deep knowledge that creates the security that allows your children to take the risks. Succeed or fail, they know you will always love them, no matter what.
When you’ve handled your estate planning and talked with your kids about what you’ve set up, they get the clear message that you’ve loved them and done everything possible to be there for them. Even if you cannot physically be there.
Additionally, when you include them in the discussion, they begin to see that you trust them. As they get older, they’ll see you are working with them to design a future that is positive for your whole family. They’ll see that you trust and respect their input.
There is no greater gift we parents can leave for our children – no matter their age – than making sure they know they are loved and cared for no matter what. When you create an estate plan, you leave that gift.
They understand your desire to protect everything you work so hard for. Including the intangibles like perseverance and resilience.
You can begin by calling our office today at (978) 263-6900. Schedule a time for us to sit down and talk because this planning is so important.
To your family’s health, wealth, and happiness,