Friday, November 28, 2014

Resilient Coping and Your Kids

By now, it should not be a secret that: A) I am presenting at Rootstech 2015 and B) I am doing a great deal of research on the scientific benefits of genealogy on youth. The more I prepare for my Rootstech presentations, the more excited I get to share all of this information with all of you.  Be sure to stop by my presentations, or our booth, to talk to me and let me know what you think about the topics I'm presenting. I am particularly pleased with all of the data I am gathering on the scientifically proven benefits of genealogy on young people. The documentation of improved intellectual and emotional performance in relation to family connections is fascinating.  Of course, I have been saying it for years, so maybe I just like having scientific evidence to finally back me up. You know, something to show my kids and say, "See, I told you genealogy will help you!"

As a result of my focus on this topic, someone pointed out something to me the other day on resilient coping in young people.  The original article can be found here and it is an interesting read.  Linda Graham is the author of the paper and the idea behind The 5 C's of Coping.  She talks about discovering these 5 C's during her 20+ years of practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist.  The 5 C's are as follows:

  • Calm - Staying calm in a crisis can help us cope with what is happening to us.
  • Compassion - Keeping an open mind and heart can help us view our (or someone else's) situation with compassion and helps us use past experiences to be resilient in current circumstances (she goes on to list how to do this, step by step, in the original source).
  • Clarity - Seeing the situation from different perspectives (and with compassion) can help us to be flexible in moments of stress or trial.
  • Connection - Seeking help allows us to connect to personal resources (family, present and past).
  • Competence - Learning from others allows us the ability to become adept at alleviating personal suffering with effort and mindful practice.
Do you see a pattern with these 5 C's and families? We can all learn, and then in turn teach our youth, how to successfully navigate personal trials through sharing family history and personal family narratives. Can you imagine the power a story of an ancestor who struggled through The Great Depression, or World War II, or another difficult life event, could have on a young person? The idea that he or she is related to someone who suffered or who was frightened or who was overwhelmed and then endured is enough create a sense of Calm, Compassion, Clarity, Connection, and Competence--all in one felled swoop.  It's like packing a parachute for your child. Sharing your family history and family narratives is their back up pack, in case the first attempt to pull the cord fails. You've given them the ability to recall, and then lean upon, the experience of another person that has had a direct influence on their personal ability to succeed in life. 

I don't know about you, but I know that I am always looking for ways to cope a little bit better with life's curveballs.  And this list of the 5 C's of Resilient Coping is a nice, neat, little cheat sheet for that. And I know that if you've met me, and spent any time with me, you'll know that I often talk about experiences where I was overwhelmed with something in my life and then remembering an ancestor, or a family line, helped me to realize that everything was going to be fine--if my family had gone through far worse things and came through stronger for it, so would I!

So, then, the real question is: how do we instill these principles in our children? Easy. Start young. So many people think genealogy is a "grandma hobby." It isn't! We've got to be the ones who change that stigma, however. If we act like our children and grandchildren are too young to "get it," well then, they'll behave in the exact same way! So we have to be on our toes to find ways to be creative and clever in how we introduce our children and grandchildren to family history. Stories are always a sure bait. Children love stories. So tell them stories about you, your parents, your grandparents. Just talk with them and find common ground where you can share and they can learn. Playing with your children and grandchildren is another great way to get them involved.  Pull out some old toys or books you had as a child, play dress up in some old clothes in that cedar trunk in the attic, or teach them the games you played as a child--you know, the ones that didn't involve remote controls and televisions. These are all easy ideas to get you started. 

And lucky for you, I have made it even easier with my Zap the Grandma Gap Books and Activity books.  Each work book I have created is targeted to a specific family heritage.  My newest books (out in time for Christmas gift-giving) focus on Jewish, Mormon, and Pioneer histories. These have been added to my line of British, Swedish, German, and Civil War histories. For parents and grandparents, I have my book and power up workbook to give you ideas, help, and hints to close the genealogy gap in your family. It seems too easy, but truly, something as simple as a fun activity workbook is enough to spark your child's interest in their family history and then you are on the road to helping your child develop the 5 C's and become a more resilient person. Your children think they are just playing games, solving puzzles, and coloring paper dolls. But you and I both know that they are connecting to who they are and where they come from. And believe it or not, down the road, that may make the difference in your child "bouncing back" from a hard life blow, or "being out for the count." It's critical for us to give our children a fighting chance from the start. And knowing who they are and where they came from is the most powerful ammunition we can give them.

I hope you'll take advantage of my pre-release sale on my new workbooks (and all of my other books), to add to your gift-giving this year. If you order by November 30, 2014 you will receive 20% off of your entire order. New books and previous books alike. That is a great deal that won't last much longer! Stop by and take a look at some of the offerings each book and workbook have in store for you and your young ones. The best thing about my activity books is that your children don't even realize they are doing family history! They are just having fun. It's a simple and small thing that will lead to much bigger and better things down the road (the 5 C's of resilient coping is just the tip of the iceberg). Trust me, it's one gift you won't regret giving your child or grandchild this year!


STRENGTHEN RESILIENCE: Developing the 5 C’s of Coping: Calm, Compassion, Clarity, Connections to Resources, and Competence. Linda Graham, MFT -

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