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Making Resilience Skills Accessible to Children

Dr. George Everly is a highly respected author and researcher with groundbreaking work in resilience, crisis intervention, and disaster response. Dr. Everly’s impressive biography draws the attention of many in the mental health world, especially in caring for the first responders and survivors of traumatic incidents. From acts of mass violence to devastating wildfires, the work of industry leaders such as Dr. Everly helps us prepare for the worst moments and bounce back when they do occur.

At a recent training where the audience included a mix of mental health professionals, first responders, and embedded agency peer supporters, Dr. Everly shared a simple yet inspiring new tool for assisting children in developing resilience skills. Rodney Makes a Friend: A Lesson for Young Children in Building Resilience was published in December of 2018 and is quietly gaining traction as a new resource in the stress management toolbox.

image of the book cover

A colorful, engaging children’s book with a meaningful message about building resilience.

The premise of the story is easily approachable for many children: a shy rabbit, Rodney, sets out to learn how to make friends. In the process, the book delivers a powerful message about learning to see things from the viewpoint of another. This “perspective-taking” can help children develop better social intelligence which may improve relationships and foster the development of social systems that contribute to increased resilience skills.

The significance of strong social support systems in resiliency is well-documented but still struggling to come to the forefront of discussions on coping with the stress of traumatic events. Mentalhealth.net provides an excellent writeup on the role of relationships in resilience.

In general, the more quality social support you can draw upon from family and friends, the more flexible and resilient you can be in stressful situations. The people who really know you will care for you during tough times. Having a support system in place will give you a greater sense of confidence in your abilities and will allow you to approach life more optimistically.

The importance of helping children access these skills is obvious; the ability to communicate these skills in an age-appropriate manner is not always so straight forward. This is where Dr. Everly’s book makes a clear impact: a colorful, engaging children’s story delivering research-based skills, written by a leading scholar and researcher in the emerging field of critical incident stress management.

For anyone interested in learning more about responding to and managing a crisis, take a look at the awareness and responder level training through Anchorpoint Response. When you do, consider enhancing your own toolbox with books such as Rodney Makes a FriendĀ by Dr. George Everly.