This a word in danger of being relegated to 'buzz word' and 'consultant speak', and yet it is oh so important. In recent years I've noticed many more conversations with teachers and parents that lead to discussing a need to teach our kids more resilience, or indeed the need to better develop it within ourselves.
The definition of resilience is 'the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties' (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/resilience). To recover 'quickly', not enter into a long and arduous journey of analysis or lamentation, but rather to be able to accept our 'difficulties' or mistakes or problems as an opportunity to learn and move forward.
I've occasionally been misread as lacking empathy or being too hard in the past when I have put forward this idea of resilience. These accusations mainly coming from a brand of human I call the "Yes, but" people. You know the ones. They're the individuals who will always counteract any suggestion with "Yes, but" followed by an untested reason they would never follow up on your suggestion. For example,
A - "I really want to change careers"
B - 'Perhaps you can find a part-time or correspondence course in an area that interests you?'
A - "Yes, but I have to work so I won't have time."
B - 'I wonder if there is one that has flexibility to work in with your working life?'
A - "Yes, but I still want to be able to have a social life and that would really eat into my work/life balance."
B - 'I hear you. Maybe it might be worth a little less social life for a couple of years if it means finding something you really want to do?'
A - "Yes, but then I'll feel like I'm putting my life on hold."
... pretty much the point where B gives up. What I usually am feeling from the "Yes, buts" is a risk averse nature that is much stronger than their desire to chase better alternatives.
Let's face it, we can all come up with amazing excuses to avoid putting ourselves out there and possibly, gasp, failing. What I love about the drama classroom is that it has taught me, and in turn allows me to teach on, the art of embracing failures. The best acting teacher I ever had would continually gift me with the mantra, "Get it wrong."
Through games and activities, drama students learn how to throw all of their ideas into the ring for testing.
Like scientists we create a hypothesis for our performance, follow a clear methodology depending on parameters set by the game, activity or teacher, and then, through performance, test it out. Sometimes a scene with the best of intentions falls flat on its face. At this point the teaching of resilience steps in. What the drama teacher does not want their student to do is beat themselves up and indulge in embarrassment. All that does is inhibit the actor within and close the student off to forming and sharing new ideas. Instead we encourage, through discussion, a quick SWOT analysis of the scene and then develop a new plan that takes the original idea in a different direction.
Like our sporting counterparts, a drama student must train for a successful performance. We analyse both the psychological and physical needs of our characters and work on developing mentally, vocally and physically to embody the characters world. It is not uncommon for me to work my classes into a sweat in the first section of our classes. It is not uncommon that I have to listen to my students whinging that they're tired, they've had a hard day at school, it's two degrees too hot, that they're really stressed (in other words, they are "Yes, but-ing" me without actually using the words. It's at this point in time we develop the life skill of 'Sucking it up'. So many times through life we are faced with situations where we don't feel physically or emotionally up for something, but still have to do it. Resilience.
Studying Drama is about learning resilience. Practising. Developing. Sometimes failing. Always getting back up.