Quit mowing the lawn! Building student resiliency

Erlene Gococo – Communications Officer, Education Centre – Parenting is challenging, period. Watching your child fail at something is heartbreaking. I want to break my son’s every fall and push him in the right direction. And because of that, some call me a “lawn mower parent.” I’m constantly trying to “mow the lawn” in order to create a clear path for him, free of any obstacles.  

We all want to protect our kids from harm, but resiliency is only built when we support them in trying new things, especially when they fail. And they will fail. In my heart, I know that I need to stop mowing the lawn!  

As a relatively new employee to Rocky View Schools (RVS), I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the jurisdiction employ a variety of strategies aimed at building student resiliency, such as: 

Creating safe and caring environments  
RVS aims to meet students’ basic needs, giving them an opportunity to thrive. Proper nourishment and mental health are key factors in a student’s ability to succeed both in and out of school. Programs and initiatives such as the Breakfast Club (see link below) and Project Wellness help to fulfill these basic needs, making sure stomachs are full and emotional well-being is addressed. 

Meeting students where they're at 
RVS ensures it is Making School Fit the Student (see link below), regardless of their learning style or personal situation, and believes that all students can be successful in school. Students are supported by their teachers and empowered to “own their education,” giving them a sense of purpose. 

Challenging students to take healthy risks 
RVS provides safe learning environments for testing new ideas and prompts students to ask questions. Students believe in their abilities, learn to take healthy risks and feel empowered to follow their passions while going Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead (see link below). They break down barriers and challenge themselves to go outside of their comfort zone, building self-esteem and self-worth. 

Promoting kindness and empathy 
RVS creates nurturing environments and promotes positive behaviours from a young age. Through opportunities created by our amazing teachers, such as Kindness Ninjas (see link below), students learn the importance of kindness and empathy, which in turn promotes emotional resilience. According to Psychology Today, “Children who understand and practice the concept of empathy don't personalize setbacks. They readily accept when things are not going their way...” 

As a mom, I’m hopeful, and as an employee, I’m proud to know that RVS has a focus on building resilient kids, ready to take on the world!  

At home, I will continue to make efforts to encourage my son to make his own choices, even if they aren’t MY choices. I want him to taste success but also experience failure. Failure is what makes us human and propels us to move forward, onto the next challenge. I’ll leave you with a quote that I read on picklebums.com, “I want so badly to make it all better… but I won’t. I’ll sit here, plaster a smile on my face, and try very hard not to mow the lawn.”