How fog can teach resilience

Jan 29, 2020

My younger son flew out on his school exchange today.  Thirteen students and their incredible teachers heading off to immerse themselves in a different language and culture.  I'm  grateful to our global community who see the value in supporting our young people to learn and grow. They create opportunities that make a difference.

The wider community have been supporting this trip for over a year now.   It's  humbling seeing the number of people come to sausage sizzles and quiz nights to support fund raising.  Many people share their own experiences of an exchange or of high school.

Even the bank tellers as we exchanged currency this week were encouraging of him and the opportunities awaiting him.  Their pearls of wisdom have flowed and been well received.

So this morning, bags packed we headed to the airport to say farewell.  And we waited as fog delayed then cancelled their flight.  Numerous flights.  It soon became obvious that the trip was heading nowhere fast today.

I was reminded of a family "rule" I made up for my children: The number one rule applies 100% of the time.  "Any plan can be changed"

This was part of my attempt to help them build resilience.  As a junior psychologist I'd read research on the importance of resilience in determining children's reactions to trauma and significant life events.   

It's always interesting watching peoples reactions to events.    I was deeply grateful to the students who took it in their stride; the crew who worked behind the scenes to change and the teachers staying calm.

And then I was reminded that sometimes things don't work out the way you wanted because something better is coming.  The students were re-routed from a stop off in China to South America  at the same time as the government travel advisory to avoid unnecessary travel to China with the outbreak of the corona virus.


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