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Superintendents’ forum: What Adults can Learn from Resilient Kids

This article was originally published in the Reading Eagle: https://www.readingeagle.com/2023/10/12/superintendents-forum-what-adults-can-learn-from-resilient-kids/

By: Dr. Heidi Rochlin, Antietam School District

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Raising children is a full-time job that can be demanding. Many of us must face this challenge while also navigating work responsibilities and hectic schedules. It takes resiliency, grit, and determination.

I do not know about you, but when I was in school, these “softer” skills were not taught or addressed as part of my K-12 education. In fact, these skills were never even mentioned, much less developed while I was in school.

Now that I have been immersed in education for over 20 years and have seen the educational system evolve during that time, I am impressed with how our classrooms and teachers are fostering these abilities in our students.

And now, as our children acquire these skills, I believe we have a lot that we can learn from them.
I remember being in a spelling bee in sixth grade and being eliminated on a word that I knew how to spell, but the pronouncer had thrown me off with how she had presented the word. I did not take it well. And, from that point on, I was absolutely done with spelling. I had sworn off the whole idea.

I did not have enough resilience to realize that even though I was not successful in that instance, I would have many more chances to prove my spelling prowess. All I needed was a little bit of grit and determination to pick myself up and try, try again.

I am very proud that our students in Berks County K-12 schools are being taught these skills every day, and teachers are fostering positive mindsets so that they will not give up after one defeat like I did. Our mantra in public education must remain centered on the notion that attitude and sustained effort drive success.

As I see our students across Berks County face a myriad of challenges and obstacles, I am confident that they are being given the tools they need to rise above and move forward. I am excited that students are being taught to problem-solve and think critically.

As parents raising these amazing children, there is much we can learn from them. Many times, when challenges present themselves, or when change and flexibility are needed, it is us, the adults, that often have trouble adapting. Our children are stronger than we think. They have endured a pandemic, natural disasters, and safety, security, and technology changes – both social and environmental. They have shown remarkable flexibility and tolerance in the face of an uncertain and rapidly changing world. This is true resilience.

As for me, I am willing to learn and grow … and possibly, one day, even try my hand at spelling again!

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