29. Regarding Perseverance pt 5


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Good Morning Families, today is Friday May 1st, 2020 and it is now time for a moment of SEL.

It’s our last ingredient for our perseverance cookie. First, we had motivation, that is the energy that sets us on a path.

Then we have strong self-esteem. That helps us maintain or strengthen the sense of value we have of ourselves while we work toward a goal and face challenges, setbacks, or struggles.

Then we have time for reflection and creativity which help us try to understand the challenges, setbacks, and struggles, and give us time to apply some creativity in how we will re-approach.

And today, we have adaptation.

The word “adaptation” can be used in biology, in the arts, in psychology. To adapt something is to make it useful or suitable under a new set of conditions. Sometimes we adapt things for new uses. As in I have adapted an old garden hose into a new drip line for the plants by poking a bunch of little holes in it. Sometimes we adapt ourselves for new situations. Like these Moments of SEL are one way I am trying to adapt to being a school counselor from home.

Mr. O’Brien adapted to a lack of storage space by velcroing everything to the wall. His cro-game is tight!

Humans can be remarkably adaptable. Consider our ability to live in and manipulate different environments. We’ve created mechanisms for heat when it is cold and cool air when it is hot.

Harry Potter adapted to living with the Dursley’s in the summer and at Hogwarts in the school year. And the Harry Potter books were adapted into movies.

School has adapted to being online as we are all adapting to the physical distancing necessary for keeping our communities healthy.

Adaptation is what we are talking about regarding perseverance. See, as you move toward a goal and, if you struggle along the way, the information you gain from reflecting on the goal and the struggle is going to inform you in how to proceed. Either by, showing you the path forward, opening up a new path, or, in some cases, helping you to walk away. The path you choose and the way you walk it will be part of the way you adapt to the new environment.

So, to pursue or not to pursue, or to pursue in a different way, that’s the question we’re asking today. That’s the final piece of perseverance. When to walk ahead and when to walk away. Or, in most cases when to walk in a new way or in a new direction. That’s actually the adaptation piece. It doesn’t always have to be an “all in or all out” situation when you are pursuing a goal.

You are taking something old, maybe an old way of doing things or an old way of thinking, and you are incorporating your new learning from the reflection on the challenges and setbacks and struggles, and you are giving yourself some new supports for working toward your goal. That’s perseverance. Still working toward your goal!

And this is true in building and maintaining healthy relationships. And it is especially true in, dare I say it, kissing relationships.

Yep. Those relationships can be very complicated to navigate. The goal, obviously, is to build and maintain healthy relationships, however, in the pursuit of that goal there will be setbacks, there will be struggles. Each time there is a challenge in an interpersonal or social relationship, there is can be time for reflection. Sometimes, after a challenging interaction with a friend or classmate or coworker or group, you may find the temptation or even habit of ruminating. So remember, rumination can be a trap! Make sure you are thinking of an action you can take to either address or repair the impact of the challenge on the relationship. Be sure to recognize if you are wallowing, stewing, beating yourself-up, or catastrophizing the intentions of others; those are signs of rumination.

As relationships change and as you change there will be ample opportunity to adapt to new ideas, new cultures, new environments, new social settings, new learning, you name it.

But when, as is natural, you reflect on a relationship you are maintaining either with an another individual or with a group that relationship may take some turns and twists. If, in your reflection you recognize that the relationship has shifted into a situation where there are more challenges then not, that can be a sign to really consider how you will adapt. You’ll want to check in with your strong self-esteem.

You want to have a good understanding of how you value yourself. That will be very helpful in determining when to continue the path and stay in the struggle, when to adjust to perhaps taking a different path toward the same path but in a new way, or when to stop walking down that particular path entirely. Let your value in yourself be your guide. Oh, and probably talk to some trusted adults to ask them about checking on your guide.

So, three paths before. Walk forward, walk sideways, walk away.

And look, I keep typing this and telling you this, and sure, maybe you’re listening and maybe some of my words sound okay, but I can’t say this any better than a 23-year-old Don Schlitz said it back in 1976.

((music performance on the audio versions))

Okay, looking forward to connecting in whatever way we can on Monday. Until then, may your thoughts and feelings be with you.

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