Can you Bounce Back when you’re on ice?

Resilience is the term used to describe the ability to bounce back after a set back. It seems to be made up of confidence, determination, hope and coping capacity. Resilient people are not devoid of sadness, frustration or stress but have the capacity to keep going never the less, and in good spirits most of the time. Each of us has a degree of resilience – and we can all develop our resilience to a greater level.

When Linda sets off with her team to attempt to reach the North Pole early next year there will be at least 500 local school students comparing notes about resilience They will log their progress towards self chosen goals while the expedition team logs theirs. With the aid of modern technology information can be exchanged and comparisons made between how the team copes with weather, ice, cold and wildlife and how students cope with the challenges that their projects throw at them.

On the expedition the North Pole team will have to solve problems like equipment failure. No resources other than what is in the sled will be available to mend a broken binding or a tear in the tent fabric. If the GPS doesn’t work, if someone gets soaked after going into the ocean unexpectedly, if a ski breaks or bad weather sets in the team simply has to cope. These sorts of problems will require postive thinking and resourcefulness – the ability to think outside the square about what resources we have and how they can be used means that innovative solutions can be found. A safety pin can be used to keep a boot together when the glue fails to set in the cold. The foam mat can be cut up to create an insert into a boot for extra cushioning of sore feet. We can walk when a ski is broken. Some of these solutions require greater energy – walking is harder in the snow than skiing – hence the need for positive thinking. Sitting down because its too hard will never work.

Resilience doesn’t just occur within an individual. You can bounce back from hardship more easily if you have a supportive team around you – so it helps if you know how to get along with others, how to sort out conflicts and how to communicate. On the North Pole expedition we will have to work very closely together – helping each other get the sleds over the ice ridges, checking out how each other is going throughout the day, sharing the workload when someone gets really tired or hurts themself. Students will also be working with others, using their family and friends for support and encouragement, practicing their communication skills. Our log books will help us notice how we work with others and what difference they make.

A poem I came across recently seems to sum up our options in regard to the approaches we can take. It goes:

One ship drives east and another drives west

With the selfsame winds that blow.

‘Tis the set of the sails And not the gales

Which tells us the way to go.

As we ski north on our modern day exploration and adventure, students in Bendigo will be joining us in our challenge of choosing which way to set out sails in the winds of life – as together we practice resilience and grow stronger. Linda Beilharz

Student Log Books can be found on the Journeys for Learning website, under lesson guide Journeys and Attachment Expedition and Student Log.