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Significant others

Recently, at my other school, I was speaking to the Senior students about resilience. With reference to Maggie Dent’s short book on the topic, Building Children’s Resilience. One Building Block at a time, I touched on what they could all do to build up their resilience. Good nutrition, regular exercise, plenty of play, laughing and learning at school, to name but a few ways to build their resilience. Another way that children can build their resilience is to have a positive role model, a significant other, in their lives. Maggie Dent calls these people ‘lighthouses’. Dent states, ‘The research shows conclusively of the importance of significant safe, adult allies who aren’t parents – the people I call lighthouses. Think aunts, uncles, grandparents, coaches, a friend’s parents, neighbours, grandparents, teachers, family friends or community members. It takes only one adult who can hold the light in a young person’s life to make a significant difference to the life outcomes for that young person. The most important things that lighthouses bring are unconditional acceptance, unconditional positive regard (regardless of any perceived sense of failure on the young person’s part), no judgement, and no unheeded advice or lectures. Essentially, lighthouses lean in with compassion and act as a safe base and place to regroup, recover, replenish and grow’ (see more on this at

Do your kids have lighthouses in their lives? If not, can you help them find some?

And can you be a lighthouse person in a young person’s life?

Resilience is how you can successfully manage life, adapt to change and stressful events, in healthy and constructive ways.  – Maggie Dent

Sarah McIntosh
Student Welfare





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