Severe weather events, global conflict, and economic hardships seem to have become commonplace in this world we live in.
Less than one hour north of where I am writing this blog sets the community of Lamar, Missouri. For you history buffs out there, our 33rd President of the United States was born in Lamar…Harry S. Truman.
The study of resiliency goes back several decades. However, recent economic challenges, natural disasters, and the prevalence of violence, among many other factors, have brought a laser focus to this growing body of research. Although I can’t bring my own personal research on the topic to the table, I can bring my personal observations of 20 years of working with children faced with the challenge of overcoming adverse situations. The research questions to be answered are two-fold:
The genetic makeup of humans gives each of us our uniqueness. Not only do we look and act differently, but we also each possess gifts and abilities that are a direct result of what is in our DNA. How we respond to our environment, our susceptibility to disease, and even our life expectancy is largely dependent upon our genetic makeup. We are also very adaptable. As we become more aware of our own unique strengths and weaknesses, we find ways to compensate for our shortcomings and build on our strengths. That awareness, and our ability to respond, plays a major role in our quality of life and general happiness.
Following Hurricane Katrina, researchers began trying to identify factors that make a community better prepared to respond and rebuild following an unthinkable disaster. After the destruction following the Joplin, MO tornado in May 2011, Joplin became a focal point of this research due to the community’s ability to rally quickly after the storm. It was a point of pride for the citizens of Joplin as people around the world were inspired by the “can do” attitude and resolve of Joplin in the face of a seemingly insurmountable challenge.