THE SEVEN HABITS
OF PERSONAL, FAMILY, & COMMUNITY RESILIENCE
by Bob Waldrop
Resilience is the ability to
successfully meet and surmount challenges,
obstacles, & problems.
1. Solidarity and cooperation.
When the going gets rough, nobody
gets thrown to the wolves. This is a basic principle
of a human civilization of life and love. Our first
concern is naturally for those who are closest to
us, but that can't be the extent of our involvement.
Our families are only as secure as our communities,
and our communities are only as safe as the world.
Studies of past disasters show clearly the
importance of cooperation in successfully meeting
and surmounting a serious challenge. The more
solidarity and cooperation that is evident in a
society, the more resilient it is when faced with
2. Creativity and adaptability.
Sometimes problems that seem very big
need to be viewed from a different angle of
observation. We get enclosed in boxes that limit our
ability to see an entire picture. A rapidly changing
world means we have to get out of our boxes in order
to see enough of the picture that we can
authentically respond. Sometimes we need to see the
possibilities of new relationships, new connections,
new uses for old systems or machines or resources,
or new ways of using those systems to do new things.
The ability to creatively meet changing situations
is a positive indicator of community and family
resilience. If systems are breaking down, we must
discover new and better systems that are not so
brittle and vulnerable.
Either you will act on a situation or it will act on
you. A decision to do nothing may be a decision to
make the situation worse. A problem won't get better
by itself. A flat tire is a flat tire, it has to be
changed. Standing there and wishing it were
otherwise, or denying that the tire is flat, gets
you nowhere. Positive action in support of safety
and security is evidence of resilience in a family
and a community.
4. Prudence, preparation, and
While the world is full of blessings
and opportunities, it is also a risky and hazardous
place. We know this and so we tell each other and
our children stories and proverbs about watching for
dangers and taking precautions. Look before you
leap, watch where you're going, a stitch in time
saves nine, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound
of cure, these are a few of the ways we teach the
importance of watching out for yourself and others
that you are responsible for. The point of "watching
out" is to avoid trouble, or manage it when it is
inevitable. Cultivating the virtue of prudence & its
associated discipline of sustainable living helps a
family or community successfully surmount
Civilization works in part because most people
willingly assume responsibility and carry out their
duties. Your social responsibilities include making
a best effort to ensure that your own household is
as sustainable as is practical for your
circumstances. The more people that assume personal
responsibility and carry out their duties in life,
living in a more rather than less sustainable way,
the more resilient is the community. In a time of
rapid change or disaster, everybody must accept
responsibility for maintaining community values,
order, health, and safety.
6. Awareness of environment.
It's easy to get into the routine of life, and go
through the motions practically oblivious to what
everybody else is up to. We trust our environment
because we know it well and generally have a handle
on its risks. But there are times when things change
very fast and thus normality is disrupted. Such
disruptions can be prolonged. To cope with rapidly
changing circumstances, we must practice our ability
to observe, understand, and generally be aware of
our environment -- its opportunities and its risks.
7. Holistic methodology.
We live in an age of specialization, but life has
plenty of reminders that there are some things that
everybody should know how to do. The crises and
challenges of life at this time in place and history
call us to expand our horizons, to look for
solutions in many different places and peoples.
Nobody is an island, we are all connected. We can't
cope with particular local situations in isolation
from other global issues, because global issues
inevitably work their way down to the neighborhood
and there is a spiritual reality that unites us.
Times of rapid change, disasters and disruptions of
life as we know it can stretch pre-existing stresses
in a culture to the breaking point. Thus, we must
bring all that we have and are -- values, reasoning
ability, knowledge, spirituality, faith, prayer,
relationships, and cultures -- to the table in the
search for solutions to the very grave problems
which afflict all who live on this planet.