Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Antoinette. Antoinette Wonders, “What is survival?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Antoinette!

Have you ever noticed how some people can cope with most difficult situations? Or how  they always seem to give their best. These types of people show the topic of our Wonder of the Day: resilience. 

A person who is resilient has emotional strength and keeps going in the face of a challenge. They can show courage, be positive, adapt to changes, and use their resources.

Resilience isn’t about “getting over” something. It’s about learning from setbacks or challenges. That way, the next time is easier. And, it’s something you can learn.

You can learn more about being resilient from the story of Lisa Jura, who was a child prodigy. She traveled from Vienna, her home, to England during World War II and survived the Holocaust. Lisa loved playing music. She kept playing no matter what else happened in her life, and that helped her be resilient. Music can do a lot of things for many people. It can affect your mood and inspire you. 

The video in this Wonder’s gallery tells the story of Siranoush Danielian, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, and the story of Kizito Kalima—survivor of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, and how they overcame dangerous times in their countries. 

What about people who don’t think they have resilience? What can they do to build this skill? It is hard to think about positive things that come out of failures or stressful situations. Check out the following ways you can build resilience. Don’t try all of them at once, though! Pick one or two to get started.

  • Stay flexible and open-minded. When something doesn’t go as planned, these traits help you change to be successful.

  • Be ready for new things. Life is full of chances to do new things. Be open to trying them! You may find a new favorite. 

  • Practice patience and kindness—especially with yourself. It takes time to learn new things! Practice skills ahead of time, or even after an activity. And don’t be hard on yourself for not doing something perfectly the first time.

  • Experience the present. By this, we mean don’t dwell on the past. It already happened. What did you learn from that experience? How can you apply what you learned to the present?

  • Value and build good relationships with important people in your life. It is very important to have trusted people you can reach out to for help. Think about friends, family members, and other adults that may fill this role.

  • Know and consider your limits. It’s very important to know when a task may be too hard to do on your own. Ask for help! Reach out to a friend or family member—or a trusted adult—to support you in this activity.

  • Understand and handle rejection or losses. Things won’t always go your way. You won’t win every game, you may not earn a spot on a team, and you may not get good grades all the time. Building skills to cope with these disappointments helps when you are older—like when you don’t get a job, get into your first choice college, or when someone doesn’t want to do an activity with you.

  • Enjoy spending time alone. One skill many people struggle with is being alone —whether to think or to do an activity solo.  Having time to think and play by yourself may be more important than you realize!

Are you resilient? Do you have any friends or family members that have this trait? How can you build your resilience for the future? By starting now, you can have many strategies to help later!

Preserving memories are a vital part of the human experience, and USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive contains over 55,000 testimonies from survivors and witnesses—using audio and video—to educate future generations about the Holocaust and other atrocities, in support of the Institute’s mission to develop empathy, understanding, and respect through testimony so the next generation understands the importance of learning from the Holocaust and making the world a better place. Its IWitness platform contains many of these testimonies that were gathered using recorded interviews to tell the stories of survivors and witnesses. Inspired by the power of story to transform lives, USC Shoah Foundation's The Willesden Project combines testimony, technology and music to reshape Holocaust education.

Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.8, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.4, CCRA.L.5, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.SL.4, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.W.4, SEL.1, SEL.2, SEL.3, SEL.4, SEL.5

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