The most important structure in our society, and even maybe in the universe, is the family. The concept of marriage and family is not a human invention but a divine one. God created a prototype of what He was. He is a God manifested in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
When God said, “let us make man in our image, according to our likeness” (Genesis 1: 26,27), He was creating an image of what He Himself was, through the marriage of Adam and Eve, that is, a God who lives in community. In this sense, God is also a family unit. The Kingdom of God is made up of families. When He decided to create this world, He started with a family.
The family is the main cell of a society. It is the foundation of the values, beliefs, and virtues of its members. Its walls become a shelter of hope for the people in it. It is that place where you can face the greatest crises in life because that is why it was built, to protect and safeguard its members.
What makes one family rise above in the face of suffering and adversity, while others remain stuck in the same place without moving forward in a crisis? The answer is a positivist concept in psychology: resilience. Resilience’s definition could not be simpler, said Boris Cyrulnik, who coined this concept. He said that resilience was starting a new development after trauma. Others have said that it is the ability to overcome painful and traumatic situations, coming out of them stronger.
This concept is not only attributed to individual models of facing adversity but can also be contextualized in families and communities. Family resilience can be defined as the processes of reorganizing meanings and behaviors, and overcoming and adapting that take place in the family.
It also allows the family system to recover in times of crisis, just like the one we are currently living through with COVID-19. Resilience cushions the stress, reduces the risk of dysfunction, and supports optimal adaptation. It implies more than just handling stressful conditions, it implies the potential for transformation and personal and relational growth that can be forged by adversity.
In addition, it is marked by what happens not only after the traumatic event, but before it has happened. Several studies show that people who have had a childhood marked by abandonment, in which they could not develop emotional intelligence or learn how to regulate their emotions, are more likely to succumb to a crisis compared to people who had parents who allowed them develop a secure attachment. These people usually deal with a small neurological malformation that prevents them from controlling their emotions and they collapse when facing a serious life event, such as losing their job due to the coronavirus, marital problems, or a similar crisis.
Resilience is not innate. People do not learn when the crisis arrives. It is an attitude that must be learned from childhood, since the first months of human life are crucial to controlling emotions in adulthood. In other words, the family structure is the forger of resilience in its members.
7 Resilient Family Practices
They trust in God. Resilient families trust God. They know that their future is in God’s hands and that no matter what it may hold, there is a happy world beyond. Their eyes are always fixed on that world where there will be no more crying or pain.
They are optimistic. They are optimistic because they believe in God’s power. It does not matter what crisis comes to the family, there will always be a glorious morning at dawn. Optimism helps overcome difficulties. They grow in the possibilities, but they also accept the things that cannot be changed.
They are flexible. They are flexible enough to understand the crisis they are living through and adapt to adverse circumstances. They change in order to face new challenges. They build a new sense of normality as they reorganize themselves in the face of adversity. They are firm, but at the same time flexible while employing authoritative leadership.
Connectivity. They maintain connectivity in the middle of a crisis. They value mutual support, collaboration, and commitment. The individual needs, differences, and limits of each family member are respected. And when the crisis produces emotional wounds, the family seeks new ways to heal and restore relationships.
Open emotional expression. They promote sharing a variety of feelings (joy, happiness, sadness, anger). There is mutual empathy and great tolerance to each individual’s differences. They take responsibility for their own emotions and behaviors, and avoid judging others.
They see crises as opportunities. Nothing happens in life without God allowing it to happen. The ways in which the family interprets adversity determines the emotions they experience. Adversity can be seen as a calamity or an opportunity to grow in life. One decision leads to death and the other one to hope.
Solving problems in a collaborative way. They work together in order to solve their problems. They brainstorm, invent, and seize opportunities to grow in the face of adversity. They focus on clear goals, prepare to succeed, and learn from failure.
The banana tree is very resilient, even when it seems so weak. No fire or typhoon can kill it. Even if its body is cut into a thousand pieces, it can still survive. The only way to stop it from growing back is pulling it out completely. God has created the family with this ability to be resilient even in the most difficult trials because no trials will come upon us that we cannot bear.
While we recognize the value of the family in the face of crisis, we also honor the value a mother has when helping the family in the midst of crises. It is the mother who begins preparing the small child so that he/she can be resilient before the crisis and who helps her children develop emotional intelligence. She is the one who makes the difference in the family.
The mother’s role is decisive in the resilience of the children, and, together with the father’s work, they will have in their hands the formation of future adults who will know how to face the changes of life in a conscious and effective way, and who will overcome any crisis that befalls them, together, without separation, without family ruptures.
Each home taking God’s hand will build resilient people from the teachings at an early age. Society will count on adults whose emotional intelligence is well developed, whose psychological and emotional stability will allow them to establish mature, healthy, and beneficial interpersonal relationships that will guide them to having their own resilient families in the future. We can conclude then that resilience is the key to having a healthy, prosperous, and balanced society. Everything comes from the family and home.