I believe that everyone needs to know and understand resilience, how it works in their life, and how to amend it when required.  Resilience is the ability to bounce back during the tough times in your life, and I believe that trees may be one of the most excellent examples of resilience that we can find on the planet.  There are many ways to develop resilience, but first, to understand it.  It is the ability to recover quickly from the difficulties of life.  How do you behave when you run up against something unexpected?  It may be a phone call that you receive, and when you answer it, suddenly you’re confronted with someone you know who is extremely angry and accusatory towards you.  You listen to the false accusations and unreasonable demands, and you grow more and angrier.  Once he finally pauses, you light up and start in on your thoughts about him and his accusations.  It becomes worse and worse until you hang up the phone.

What happened?  Let’s turn to the trees for an explanation.  For the most part, trees weather all kinds of unpleasant weather and continue to function and grow.  They bend in the wind rather than break because they are flexible; they gather nutrients to sustain their growth for the long term during various weather events.  Their roots hold them upright in the ground regardless of the wind, rain, snow, and unpleasant storms; they continue without complaining.  Sometimes they suffer a setback, for, for the most part, they continue sustaining their life.  The roots of many trees, Aspen, Giant Redwoods, and many others, join hands underneath the ground through their root structure.  Nutrients, including moisture, are passed on to other trees as needed to keep a grove of them growing.

Regardless of the life events we face, if we have a support structure in place, the correct attitude, and the ability to see obstacles as growth opportunities, we start to establish resilience in our lives.  We sustain life during the good times and build close ties with those that we love and trust, much like the trees gather nutrients from the various weather events.  But the best part happens with their roots.  Just like trees join hands underground, so do we join hands with others and look to them when we need strength, understanding, and clarification in life.  I could go on with this analogy, but you are beginning to understand resilience, and in the subsequent two postings, I will continue to write more about resilience and how to plays out in our lives.

For a look at the 40 Developmental Assets for Youth, see my blog posting at 40 Assets for Youth – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Psychology Today has an effective article on Resilience at Resilience | Psychology Today


I want to challenge readers to establish resilience in themselves and begin to talk about it with their kids.  The more they understand it at their developmentally appropriate level, the more they can start to join hands and create their web of support.

Yours for Better Living,