Resiliency: A tool to help students overcome “hurricanes” in life

Psychologists/counselors have noted several “Protective Factors” that help students overcome and/or prevent trauma in their lives:

Healthy and supportive family/good parenting skills
Education/healthy school system that supports “social-emotional” and not just the academic dynamic of school
Extra-curricular activities (sports/clubs etc.)
Good peer choices
Having an adult to support him/her 1-1 on a regular basis: “Be the One”

We defined “resiliency” last week as an ability to bounce back from adversity/difficult times.

What dynamics/components help a student be resilient while you mentor him/her?

The first component/characteristic we bring to a student within ourselves is an ability to be “Genuine”

In Webster’s, GENUINE means: “not counterfeit: but to be authentic. Real, sincere”.

As a school counselor, I often ask students 1-1 who their favorite teachers are and why. Overwhelmingly they name teachers who are primarily about relationship with students then focus on curriculum rather than the other way around. I’ve worked with teens for over 25 years and most of them know when we are being “fake”. Finding that balance between having healthy boundaries (where you would not share too much about yourself or your personal life) and yet being authentic is a skill that comes over time.

As a middle school counselor, my biggest tool with teens is being “myself”. My humor and my ability to ask good questions with genuine care (not so much my role as a counselor) are the skills most useful when supporting students. Finding something that I might have in common with the teen: love for music, sports and/or gaming I have done or aware of etc.

Students need to see that we are human/real otherwise, they might feel that they are “a project to change”. It’s then that they would resist the process. They first of all need to be accepted by us before they will move forward to change.

– Mike Black, Ferndale School Counselor & Mentor Coach