BradBlog | Resolve
Several years ago, when I was a new teacher, I read The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. The book centered on the need for children to work through difficulties on their own and the value of the struggle. At the time, I did not have a child of my own, so my practical understanding of the book was somewhat limited. Now, having a son, who happened to fall recently and received quite the scratch, I am blessed with the opportunity to wrestle with the concepts in the book. The impact of this book, as well as my son’s impact on the ground, got me thinking about an article I read recently on the biosphere experiment.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, scientists created something called Biosphere 2, a self-sustaining, natural environment. Biosphere 2 was a huge enclosure located in the Arizona desert and, somewhat like Noah’s ark, it was jam-packed with various species of plant and animal life and a few people. The goal was to fill Biosphere 2 with a perfectly balanced set of ingredients, seal it up, and let it thrive.
As I read about this experiment, I immediately pictured what we often do with our own children. We hope that by creating a protected environment for our children, we are giving them the best chance at success.
Scientists examining the data on Biosphere 2 noticed that the trees were not developing to their full potential mainly because their roots were not strong. This did not make sense to the scientists because all of the elements of success had been in place: sunlight, moisture, and whatever else trees need. Except one thing: wind. There was no wind in Biosphere 2, and it turns out trees need wind in order to thrive. A trees resistance to wind is what gives it resilience.
So, as I think about how to prepare a young child for the challenges that come with life, resilience is what comes to mind. We must resist the temptation to send our kids out of the house in bubble wrap. We must provide them the opportunity to struggle, fail, and fall now so that they may develop the resolve to succeed. I know this continues to be a struggle for me. My first response to my son’s fall was that he needed to stay off the monkey bars for a while. However, I forced myself to let him get back on them. I do have to admit, though, I kept my hand on his legs.
All the best,