Growing up in a digital world today, can expose young people to a social media feed full of comparisons, comments and cutting remarks, that can leave them feeling constantly judged, not good enough, vilified or even unworthy. For others however they appear to sail through their socials, unburdened or at least with the ability to move beyond and flourish despite the idiosyncrasies and judgement of this highly public, highly connected world. This is largely why I am often talking with young people and families about the need for digital resilience, and how this may well be the one thing that determines their ability to thrive online and off.
But how do we build that resilience? How do we help instil resilience in our young person when it doesn’t seem to be something that they were naturally blessed with?
Enter this fabulous book I have just finished by Claire Eaton called “ROC and RISE: the teenagers guide to building the Resilience, Optimism and Confidence needed to level up at school, in relationships and life”.
And the good news is, resilience is not something that magically appears or we are even necessarily born with…..resilience, optimism and confidence can all be worked at, nurtured and built upon, with the strategies and understandings that Claire outlines in her book.
In order to ROC (live with Resilience, Optimism and Confidence), the first section of the book outlines a set of fundamentals based on the idea that we have a ROC line. That is a line that divides the ups and downs within you, separating your thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours into two sections. The line serves as a visual cue to ask yourself “Am I below or above the line right now?”. It is normal to experience both sides of the line and neither can exist without the other. In order to ROC however, you must tune into ‘you’, and in order to RISE, you must act on everything you tune into.
This book certainly helps you do that.
Claire outlines how blockers work to prevent you from realising your potential whilst boosters are the strategies, tips and tools to have ready at hand when you fall below the line and want to climb back up, or when you are above the line and want to stay and enjoy the view.
Other fundamentals of learning to ROC, look at recognising ‘heart talk’ and ‘body talk’ as indicators of where you are at any time, and how you can use these indicators to help regulate and manage your resilience, optimism and confidence levels.
This book realistically outlines the challenges faced by young people and recognises that all our lives are full of ‘stuff’. Friends, school, homework, social media, rules, parents, injuries and parties are all of the stuff that can play a role in how we turn up each day. By following Claire’s fundamental strategies, young people can help to accept, react and respond in a way that endeavours to keep them above the line…… despite all of that stuff.
The Road to Resilience
I particularly love the strategy known as the ‘Harry Shake’ named after the author’s dog. The Harry Shake refers to the big shake dogs do to release trapped emotions. It’s instinctively soothing for them, restoring balance to their body. It doesn’t have to be limited to dogs however. If Harry can shake it off you can too! This reminded me of my other strategy to shake it off…the good old ‘shrug’.
I also love the take on fear and failure explored by Claire.
“If failure is a false start, then give yourself permission to tweak so you can try again”. There is plenty of understandings around the role fear as well as fear of failure plays in wellbeing. It looks at giving yourself permission to not feel like you have to completely remove the fear, as this would likely be unrealistic, but rather give yourself the ability to take the next move forward DESPITE the fear. And one of my favourite mantras of all that will always help give us perspective and realistic actions forward is to “control the controllables”. I am also always harping on about the fact that we cannot control the actions, behaviours or words of other people online or off, but we can always control if or how we respond to them.
A sense of optimism is something that we may well be genetically imposed with to a point, but it is again certainly something we can work towards. Some of the ways Claire outlines to do this is by the use of the word “yet”. Adding that onto the end of our sentence can give us a sense of possibility rather than the futility of a finite response. Instead of “I haven’t passed my drivers test”, we can instead say “I haven’t passed my drivers test yet”.
It also outlines the importance of finding the right crew to hang out with and surround ourselves with, which can certainly be one of the trickier aspects of growing up today. Other great optimism boosters look at the power of music, our furry friends, clearing clutter, our vision and vibe boards and settling into our Hygge Haven (pronounced hoo gah). A Norwegian word meaning “to create a cosy, safe place and space of your own”.
Cruising with Confidence
The book finishes with some fabulous confidence boosters that are again outlined by a realistic understanding of all the “stuff” that presents itself to young people everyday. It is that stuff that can threaten to get in the way and make you feel like life’s a race. This book does an amazing job of reminding us that we are all on a separate individual journey and that we all see ourselves and the world around us in different ways. However we look at it, we are all in a position to take the reins as best we can, and take steps, no matter how big or small, towards our potential to ROC and Rise.
What I also loved about this book:
- There is plenty of space to write, scribble and reflect, in order to recognise and take action on our thoughts, feelings, actions and behaviours.
- It realistically discusses the challenges faced by young people today without ‘sugar coating’ the adolescent journey.
- This book is super helpful both as a parent, carer, educator or anyone who works with young people, but also particularly helpful to young people themselves.
- Of course this book builds resilience, optimism and confidence for all young people in all situations, but I firmly believe that if we are living this way offline, then those thoughts, feelings, behaviours and actions translate to the way we show up in the digital world.
- This book encourages young people to try again, to recognise weakness, to focus on the positives and ‘to be at home with the shade, in order to shine”.
If you would like to get a copy of this book both for yourself and for any young person in your life, than I emphatically urge you to head to claireeaton.com.au where you can grab your copy of ROC and Rise or her other book Hello high School which includes 85 tips for high school teens that boost friendships, mindset, productivity and success.