By Children's Program Coordinator, Josh Chittum
A fantastically-talented volunteer with the Children’s Program painted this Resiliency Tree in our elementary program space a few weeks ago. There are three ingredients that help resiliency grow, which we emphasize to our children and youth. These ingredients are: thinking about what you have as opposed to what you don’t have; thinking about what you can do as opposed to what you can’t do; and thinking about who you are and the things you like about yourself.
Each month, children will decorate or write a sentence on a leaf that highlights one area in their life that boosts their resiliency. Each leaf will fall into one of the three categories discussed above. Last week was the first time children were able to hang their decorated leaves and they all thoroughly enjoyed it. Their leaves included statements like:
I have a loving family
I am sweet
I am respectful
I am cool
I can follow the rules
I feel fantastic when we give our children opportunities to focus on what’s right in their lives rather than what’s wrong. Of course, we don’t do it because it gives me warm fuzzy feelings. We do it because it’s necessary and beautiful for our children to recognize and internalize how awesome they are. Ultimately, this resiliency tree is a metaphor for the resiliency inside each of them. The mural gives them an opportunity to share with others the beauty of their internal tree. Our programming offers water and fertilizer, but the kids themselves are the ones to make their resiliency grow stronger and more beautiful. That’s how amazing they are.