For a week, I have thought about how to look at 2021. One challenge that showed up in my inbox was to identify one word for the new year.
Immediately one popped up: Resilience. Why? Think about the history of our country. How many times has a challenge presented itself and the very principles that established this country sustained it for over 200 years.
Think about the history of Christianity, even it began with the resilience of the Jewish faithful who endured challenge after challenge without all the technology and global interaction or support available today.
One word to guide my thinking in the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of governmental change, in the midst of economic challenges, not to mention just the issue of the life challenges of growing older or recovering from a medical challenge or even loneliness we endure with the pandemic.
Resilience is essential for all of us. Interestingly this is a trait, quality, life skill that is ignored in our educational system. We need to teach resilience to our students, to the future generations.
There typically is not a set curriculum for teaching resilience, but it can be developed. In literature, selections can be read and discussed using the word resilience as a connecting theme.
In all classes, resilience can be taught in how to manage difficult lessons, disappoint grades, life challenges like absences due to illness or to circumstances beyond the student’s control. Each failure becomes an opportunity to develop resilience whether in a classroom, in a personal relationship, in a family, in a neighborhood, in a community, or even in a country.
Personally, my belief in Jesus Christ and participating in a Christian community provides me the strength and even the skills needed to be resilient. I just pray that my children and their families have come to know resilience in their lives, too, as they have witnessed in mine and their extended families.
We may be looking at 2021 through cracked lenses right now, but with resilience we will take the world as we see it and do whatever we can to make it better.
Isn’t that what Jesus would do?
Isn’t that what our founding fathers would do?
Isn’t that what the Greatest Generation would do?
We have an opportunity to take something that has challenged our very inner beings, our sense of safety, our sense of identity, and make a difference.
John Wesley, founder of Methodism, called his faithful to love one another by doing all we can do for all we can whenever we can for as long as we can. This is how we become resilient as individuals, as a faith community, as global citizens.
My word for 2021: Resilience.