Resilience and Resourcefulness: Two Things We Must Teach Our Children

It seems that the list of things we want for our children is bottomless.  Wit, charisma, and gumption. Charm, alertness, and graceful athleticism.  Those are all “nice-to-haves.”  But when I think of what I truly want for my children, resilience and resourcefulness are near the top of the list.  I write about why it’s so important and offer insight on how I’m trying to instill them in my own children over at Maximize Your Money!

You can’t do that here.

We were just about to wrap up. And before my children could sell their last two cups, the authorities came and told them they had to pack up their lemonade stand because they didn’t have a permit.

My daughter, Zuzzy (then 7 years old), was in tears. “Daddy, are we going to jail?” she asked.

It was cute. It was also a teaching moment.

My children had a choice — either go out of business or figure out a way. If they were going to stay in business, they were going to have to draw from two deep wells: resilience and resourcefulness.

Why are Resilience and Resourcefulness So Important?

We live in a world of “No.” There is a lot of good in “No.” It clarifies boundaries. It keeps us safe. “No,” don’t touch that flame. “No,” don’t cross the street yet. You want your child to obey these types of “No.”

But there are other types of “No” that your child will experience. “No,” you didn’t get into your first choice college. “No,” you didn’t land your dream job. Your child is going to work their hardest on something and be told it’s not good enough. They’re going to work extra long yet feel like getting out of debt is 1,000 miles away. You hope your child doesn’t allow these types of “No” to be the final word over their self-worth.

To overcome it, they’ll need resilience (the ability to handle challenges) and resourcefulness (the ability to overcome challenges).

What Happens Without Resilience and Resourcefulness?

According to a recent survey by the National College Health Assessment, almost half of college students said they felt overwhelming anxiety and about a third said they had difficulty functioning due to depression. In other words, they feel stuck and don’t know how to cope when life tells them that “No,” it’s not going to be easy. And the reason?


Specifically, helicopter parenting. You know, when we’re hyper-present and incessantly intervening. When we email their teachers wondering why they didn’t get an “A.” When we pack our weekends with soccer games and private soccer coaching and piano and viola and math tutoring and creative writing tutoring. And that’s just Saturday morning! I joke, but helicopter parenting is a real issue. And it’s affecting our children.

The Journal of Child and Family Studies found that students who were raised with helicopter parenting reported higher levels of depression and use of antidepressants. Psychotherapist Brooke Donatone writes in Slate:

[Milliennials] are unable to think for themselves. The overinvolvement of helicopter parents prevents children from learning how to grapple with disappointments on their own. If parents are navigating every minor situation for their kids, kids never learn to deal with conflict on their own.

We hover because we think we can catch them from falling in life and skinning their emotional knees. But by doing this, we actually prevent them from learning how to get up. Perhaps we focus too much on child development and not enough on parent development.

So, how do we teach them resilience and resourcefulness?  Read the rest of the post at Maximize Your Money!

A Great Way to Teach Resourcefulness? The Lemonade Stand

There is nothing like giving your children the opportunity to be resourceful by putting them in positions where they’ll need to use it. Plus, it will teach them how to make, spend and invest their money!

Help your child launch their first business the right way with this FREE Lemonade Stand Guide, exclusively for subscribers.  It’s a perfect, quick, and comprehensive companion to helping your child learn how to make money like a pro.


We’ll also let you know as we come out with additional guides and tools, so you won’t miss a thing!


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  • Tfell June 28, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Good thing you don’t live in Baltimore or McNulty would have already put you in bracelets.

    • JT June 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      That would be a cool memory!


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