the character issue | resilience and resourcefulness - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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the character issue | resilience and resourcefulness

We have TWO outstanding character traits for the month of May: resilience and resourcefulness. Let’s jump right into resilience!

How does SLOCA define resilience?

The ability to recover strength, determiation, spirit, flexibility and good humor in the face of change, mistakes and trials.

Catchphrase: The only real failure is to not try again.

In recent years, the word “grit” has become a bit of a buzzword in the fields of childhood development and education. Grit is tied to an individual’s determination, passion, and desire to reach a certain goal. In another, less buzzy, word: resilience! Angela Duckworth, author of “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” posits that grit is a better indicator of future earnings and happiness than IQ or talent. This should be incredibly encouraging as a parent because, unlike IQ, grit is something that anyone can develop!

Here are some ideas and discussion starters to bring the practice of resilience into your family:

  • Ask your kids to define resilience. How does their definition compare to the SLOCA definition?
  • Discuss failure and our catchphrase, “The only real failure is to not try again.” Why is failure an important part of learning and life? What if we never experienced mistakes or trials?
  • Name some instances where you had to try multiple times to succeed. How did you feel when you failed? How did you feel when you finally succeeded? Or if you are still working on it, how do you think you will feel when you finally succeed?
  • Put together a visual example of resilience. For example, find a spring and flatten it with a heavy book. Show your kids how it bounces back.
  • Read stories with characters who are resilient. (See this literature post for some suggestions.)
  • Can you give an example of a time you “recovered strength?” What about “determination, spirit, flexibility, and good humor?”
  • Try something new! Ride a bike without training wheels, attempt a tricky recipe, explore a new art medium, etc., and if/when it doesn’t go “right”, try again.
  • “Good humor” is included in the SLOCA definition of resilience. What is the value of being able to laugh at our own mistakes or to find humor in a situation? When there is no humor to be found, do you think “good humor” can mean having a positive attitude or an optimistic outlook
A short (6-minute) TED Talk by Angela Duckworth, author of “Grit, the Power of Passion and Perseverance.”

How does SLOCA define resourcefulness? 

To act effectively and imaginatively, to use information and available resources wisely and efficiently.

Catchphrase: You can figure this out!

It might not be immediately apparent, but resourcefulness ties in closely with resilience. A resourceful person will never give up but instead find creative ways to solve problems. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Resourcefulness is a signature quality of an effective leader – a life skill that enables you to find ways to speedily overcome difficulties and achieve your goals smartly.

You haven’t given up on this blog post (way to show resilience!); your next step is to use these ideas and discussion starters about resourcefulness:

  • Take time to list some ways that you as a family have been resourceful over the past few months.
  • Consider those around you, in what ways have you observed them being resourceful? (Think about your SLOCA teachers and fellow students!)
  • Characters in books and movies are often put into situations where they have to be resourceful, discuss some of your favorites. (Swiss Family Robinson, Rosie Revere the Engineer, Paddington — just a few suggestions, plenty more in the Teaching Through Literature post!)
  • Practice resourcefulness. Have your kids make a meal from limited ingredients or create an art project with recycled materials, etc.
  • Having to be resourceful often encourages gratitude. When you do not always have the things you need/want, it prompts you to be extra thankful for what you do have. Share with each other what you are grateful for or jot some thoughts down in a gratitude journal.
  • Imagination is a gift and kids are blessed with it in spades. Discuss how we can use our imagination to find ways to meet our needs. (Anyone read The Little Princess lately? She has a talent for using her imagination to make a little seem like a lot.)
  • And finally, watch this adorably resourceful dog playing fetch by himself.

Download and go to town on the resilience and resourcefulness coloring sheets below! Not into coloring sheets but would still like a reminder of this month’s character traits? Click here to purchase our full set of Character Trait posters.

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