ICEBREAKER: WHO IS THE MOST RESILIENT PERSON YOU KNOW? WHAT MAKES THEM RESILIENT?
I would have to say that the most resilient person I know would be, collectively, my children. Their father was a difficult man; selfish, insecure, with a temper. He never looked at them as a group, he treated each of them individually and had his clear favourite, his clear least liked and the two in between. There were very few bright spots and as a result, they all suffered trauma. When we separated in 2011 he disappeared within the first six months – “licking his wounds” was what I was told. Sadly that was done at the expense of his relationship with his children who felt abandoned. I never had to pile on and say anything negative about him or his actions (or lack of action), in fact, I learned quickly that we all show up and do the best we can and that’s what I told all of the kids, repeatedly. Thought the best he could be might not have been the best the kids wanted, it was all he could do. Though they were all hurt in their own way, they have the grace and wisdom to know he could only be who he was. It took work, conversation, therapy, and time for them to have come through the experience with confidence and the resulting resilience. They know it was never about them.
GOING DEEPER: WHAT IS THE GREATEST ACT OF BRAVERY YOU HAVE WITNESSED?
Further to the story above, I don’t know if “bravery” is the right word, but all four of my kids decided to change their surname, from their father’s to mine. I balked and suggested they Anglicize his name. That created a lot of discussion. In the end, I agreed to help them with the paperwork and costs involved if they all agreed on one last name and they decided that it would be mine. They went ahead even though they knew their dad would be informed, I suppose that was the brave part of the process. They were 17, 16, 14, and 13 at the time. I don’t know that I could have done the same. Regrets? None.