Resilience, Part 2

Baby birds in nest, Author Tony Alter, Newport News, USA (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

-Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Though the Childhood Experience Study (ACES) identifies overall exposure to stress, it cannot assess resilience, the capacity of individuals to respond to stress [1A].

Resilience Factors

“A decent self-image comes from somebody paying attention to you as a person and respecting everything you do.”

-Berry Brazleton, world-renowned pediatrician and child development expert [1B]

“At the top of the list is always the presence of some kind of supportive relationship.”

-Jack Shonkoff, Director, Harvard Center on the Developing Child [1C]

Our capacity to respond to adversity varies widely [2].  Some of that capacity is genetic.  Some of it involves choice – the determination to overcome obstacles.  Some of it involves energy, effort, and tenacity.

Always at the heart of resilience, however, lies a caring relationship [1D].  Children abused by a parent may have a loving grandparent for a short while or a sibling who shares their suffering.  That may be enough to keep them going.

Supporting Resilience

“It only takes one person to teach a child to feel safe and how to regulate themselves, to make a difference in that child’s entire future.”

-Nadine Burke, Founder and CEO of Center for Youth Wellness [1E]

There is no question but that the world can be a dark and dangerous place.

When a parent’s ability to buffer the stresses a child encounters is impaired, the stress response of that child will be heightened [1F].  This passes the impairment forward another generation.

While no one can take a parent’s place, a concerned caregiver – a teacher, coach,  or mentor – can help a child feel safe, give a child hope, and teach a child trust.  Early intervention and counseling can strengthen resilience, ultimately making this a better world [3].

[1A – 1F]  PBS, “Broken Places”, S1, EP1, .

[2]  NPR, “Is Your Child an Orchid or a Dandelion?  Unlocking the Science of Sensitive Kids”, 3/4/19,

[3]  National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “The significance of early childhood adversity” by Clyde Hertzman MD, March 2013,

Part 1 in this series was posted 5/17/19.



Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

28 responses to “Resilience, Part 2

  1. Francisco Bravo Cabrera

    Very good post Anna. I think resilience is a state of mind where you place survival at the top and erase all other factors, thoughts or impediments and simply focus on surviving. The quotes you’ve listed are very positive and I fully agree with their thoughts. Take good care and all the best,

  2. I love the fact that even though its a dark and arid world, there are oases of love that tilt the negative forces into positive outcomes. Thank you, Anna! Wonderful post!

  3. Anna, you are and will always be a guiding light, a beacon for the underprivileged, the abused, the shamed. Each definitive story lights a match that lights another match… Blessings, my dear friend.

    • You are so good to me, Lance. Christ, of course, is the true Light of the world. If I can reflect His light even to a small degree, then my life has had purpose. Blessings, my dear friend.

      • It’s a great pleasure, Anna. Yes, absolutely. We should all be turning to Christ for guidance, not the powers to be. Through our Savior, we can achieve purpose. Blessings.

  4. These 2 articles on resilience are great. Highly informative, and very hopeful.
    “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” This is one of my favourite quotes. I have it on my website 🙂

  5. Allan Halton

    “…resilience, the capacity of individuals to respond to stress.”
    “Always at the heart of resilience, however, lies a caring relationship [1D]. Children abused by a parent may have a loving grandparent for a short while or a sibling who shares their suffering. That may be enough to keep them going.”

    Thanks, Anna, and who cares more than Jesus Himself? Of course we ourselves must be, as someone has said, “Jesus’ hands and feet.” However, those “hands and feet” cannot always be there for the little ones in times of peril. But if we have opportunity we can seek to build into their hearts the truth of a living, loving God who loves them personally and knows what they are going through and cares deeply for them. This awareness may be with them when they have no one to turn to, and may provide them with the resilience they need– hope, something to hang on to.

    …Having said that, I am left with a burden on my heart. My heart breaks for the broken, especially the little ones. How long, Lord? Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…

    • Beautifully expressed, Allan. I wholeheartedly agree. Christians can and should share the hope the Gospel offers. If our hearts break for those who have been abused, it is because Christ’s heart breaks, also.

      But we must do more than give lip service to our beliefs. If we do nothing about evil, we undermine our own witness and will be held accountable. “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’” (Matt. 25: 40).

  6. What a kind and extremely true post. Having survived two alcoholic parents who were emotionally, physically and sexually abusive with the youngest, which also created an environment where additional sexual abuse came from relatives as a result of our parents not being present on an emotional level. We were afraid for most of our time at home. However my relationship with God, I have my mother to thank for that, and I had a wonderful loving aunt that provided a safe place on occasional weekends. We find ways to survive and my aunt was such a comfort for me. I will always give God the credit for seeking help, getting excellent help and not continuing the cycle. I am a resilient warrior who have turned my abuse into a lot of positive things. Thank you for writing about this Anna. What a blessing. Love 💕 and blessings Joni

  7. It’s such a sad state of affairs when we remove the rosy filters and look deep enough…
    Thank you for bringing these to the readers.. ❤️👍🤗

  8. It is true that parents / guardians have an important role to play in a child’s resiliency development. Thanks for sharing, Anna.

  9. Great photo to match the article. Lots of great quotes and important theme here.

  10. Great post. The Greek hero Hercules offers us many lessons on resilience. He teaches us that everyone has monsters they need to conquer, seemingly impossible tasks that they have to accomplish and tragedies they have to overcome. I wrote a blog article on this titled “From Zero to Hero -The Myth of Hercules” – Feel free to check it out.

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