Recently I spoke at a forum organised by Alcohol Focus Scotland along with CRUSE Bereavement care Scotland and COSCA. The main point of my address was Resilience and how it can be learned. I drew on the work of Karen Reivich and mentioned the BOUNCE BACK programme developed by Toni Noble and Helen McGrath in Australia. Drs Noble and McGrath were invited to Scotland by the Centre for Confidence and Well-being in Glasgow and have taught Scottish teachers to deliver the programme in schools.
At one point I said that the way we now mollycoddle children (and many adults) is counter-productive. All research into resilience tells us that we need exposure to risk. By facing up to the bad times and bad events, we develop the resilience to cope with them and to recover from setbacks. As I said this I noticed a number of heads nodding in agreement. Very heartening.
A couple of days later I heard a report on the radio about two young mothers who are opening a woodland nursery in Glasgow’s Pollok Park. There are other similar nurseries in rural Scotland but Debbie Simmers and Alison Latta claim that this is the first in a city. What particularly interested me was that, although neither used the word resilience in the interview, what they were saying is that, if children are exposed to adventure with the small element of danger involved, they become stronger, more rounded human beings. Fantastic!