Resilient Kids: One Simple Way To Teach Them To Be Brave

My daughter had a minor surgery a few years ago. To prepare her, my pediatrician, recommended the book, Franklin Goes To The Hospital  by Paulette Burgeouis and Brenda Clark.
In the book, Franklin hurt his shell (he is a turtle) playing soccer. He needs to get it fixed and requires a surgical procedure. During the days leading up to the operation his friends and family keep on telling him how brave he his. When he gets to the hospital on the day of his surgery, the nurse tells him that they need to take an X-ray. Franklin a normally mild mannered turtle refuses and starts to cry. The nurse asks him what is wrong. He said, (and I paraphrase): Everyone has been telling me how brave I am. But if you take a picture of my insides you will see that I am very scared. I am not brave at all.”

Now is when the book gets really good. The nurse calmly explains to him:
“Franklin, everyone gets scared, especially before a surgery. Doing that what you have to do even though you are scared to do it, that is what makes you brave.”

I thought that was the best description of bravery that I ever heard. It gives kids and adults a clear understanding of what bravery is: doing what we need to do despite being scared.

We always admire brave people but we generally think that they acted with courage because they must be fearless. We focus on their act of bravery, we rarely think about the conflict and the fear that they may have experienced before they acted courageously. Could it be that they were fearful but they overcame these feelings? If that is the case, doesn’t that make them truly brave?

I think that teaching kids this definition of bravery can lead them to make courageous decisions and ultimately helps build a resilient mindset.

Let us know what you think!

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  1. Hannah Baum says:

    Thank you for all your advice in parenting children. I am a grandmother with tiny little ones whom I often look after. I find this tip especially valuable for understanding how children feel and why they react the way they do sometimes when they are afraid.

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