Chapter 3: Explaining tragic world events

Teaching resilience

Tragedies at home or elsewhere in the world provide opportunities for teaching children skills to:

  • Express their emotions in healthy ways.
  • Have compassion for others.
  • Help one another.


Ways to build resilience

  • Explore ways to be with difficult feelings such as sadness, anger, worry, and fear.
  • Let them know their emotions are normal.
  • Talk about the basic need of all people to be cared for and feel a connection with one another.
  • Look at ways communities help people affected by tragedy. Use these examples to teach values of peace, tolerance, compassion and community service. For example: 
    • Following 9/11, the people of Gander, Newfoundland opened their homes, hearts, and kitchens for five days to the 7000 passengers whose planes were re-routed to their town.
    • Fire fighters from Mexico flew to Canada to assist with wildfires that affected Fort McMurray, Alberta.
  • Encourage them to think about how they can make a difference in their world – with family, friends, school and community.

Approaches like these help address the helplessness both children and adults often feel in the face of tragedy.