Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Resilience Through Adversity: Gaining strength from life's hardships

Last week I attended a conference held by a pharmaceutical company for leaders in the bleeding disorder community. Many of the leaders were parents of a child with a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia or von Willebrand’s. Others had the diseases themselves and all were learning how to "tell their stories" in order to mentor and inspire others living with the disease. These folks came from many different backgrounds including ethnicities, geographical locations, and socio-economic situations. Yet, we were all bound by two things in common: our resilience in the face of medical adversity and our passion to help others cope well. It was an amazing experience.

Photo by PhotoStock
While working toward my masters degree, I was reading from a Walsh’s text “Strengthening Family Resilience” at the time of the conference. Everything that I was reading I was witnessing right in front of my eyes. For example, on page 7 she says: “As researchers have discovered, resilience is forged through adversity not despite it. Life crises and hardship can bring out the best in us as we rise to meet the challenges.” She quotes a study on resilient adults by Higgins (1994) that showed they “became more substantial because they were sorely tested, endured suffering, and emerged with strengths they might not have developed otherwise. They experienced things more deeply and intensely, and placed a heightened value on life. Often this became a wellspring for social activism, a commitment to helping others overcome their adversities; in turn they experienced further growth through these efforts." This was clearly apparent in the eyes and the hearts of the courageous and amazing people I met within the bleeding disorder community -  these are amazing people…

Lisa C. Greene is the mother of two children with cystic fibrosis, a certified parent coach, parenting educator, and public speaker. She is also the co-author with Foster Cline, MD of the award-winning Love and Logic® book “Parenting Children with Health Issues.”  For free audio, articles and other resources, visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com