Julie Fisher’s advice and interactive, customizable action plans, detailed in her book, The Resiliency Puzzle, aim to help parents raise resilient children in today’s isolated, tech-driven culture.
Fisher’s work stems from her concern that the average 21st century youth is “overwhelmed, overstressed, overtired, and overloaded.” She addresses an eye-opening list of problems—the “influence of technology,” the “inability to accept personal responsibility,” a “decrease in basic life-skills training,” and more—that create what she terms the “Fragility Puzzle.” The “puzzle pieces,” she posits, contribute to the current epidemic of “‘teacup’ children who lack the strength, character and fortitude to face life’s challenges head-on…”
Fisher offers helpful, direct advice for parents and educators. She structures her ideas around the acronym E.M.P.O.W.E.R.: “Enrich opportunities for growth; Maintain control through responsibility; Persevere in the face of adversity; Organize a toolbox of coping strategies; Weave thoughtfulness into daily life; Engage in relationship building and maintenance; Respect integrity.”
In addition to such directives, she provides a customizable experience through extensive activities designed to engage readers and prompt them to work through their individual circumstances. For example, after a brief discussion of the importance of teaching children to express their emotions, Fisher provides ideas readers can pick and choose from for developing these skills in young children (using pictures of faces to define feelings) and older children alike (questions, role-playing social narratives, and a link to a UC Berkeley online quiz).
There are a multitude of books addressing the points Fisher makes here, so parents aren’t likely to find anything startlingly new. And the author covers a lot of topics in 77 pages, many that could use much more elaboration; the tech dilemma, for example, is discussed in just a few pages near the end.
Still, the book is a relatively fast read. Parents and educators can glean the ideas quickly and should benefit from Fisher’s strategies for building resiliency into the minds and emotions of our youth.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.