Building Resilience in Kids Part 1 |Nuggets of Sacred Time

One of my primary goals as a father is to help our kids develop the capacity to navigate adversity, stress, and hardship as they grow in life. It’s probably not the most attractive or sexy goals of parenting, but it may be among the most urgent. Having walked through hardship in my own life and with the lives of many others, I have noticed the rise of anxiety, depression, and anger in our culture. I have witnessed the strength of those with capacity and their ability to be joyful in times of suffering, and I have seen the weakness of those without capacity, and their constant negative energy and complaining. I struggle with my insecurities and fears, especially in times of significant change and transition. I recognize my own need as an adult for a greater capacity to endure challenges in life (even though I have already endured cancer). I long for my kids to have this capacity in their lives, and I am intentionally seeking to help them develop it.

The following is the first of a six-week blog series for Monday mornings for how to raise resilient kids. Parents and caregivers cannot remove all the challenges that kids face, but we can help them to develop the skills to cope with stress, overcome adversity, and even to be positively shaped by difficult experiences. We can develop these six practices in our relationships with our kids to help them build resilience. The first practice is pretty simple to implement right away:

Practice 1 | Nuggets of Sacred Time

Life is super hard for parents with young children these days that any advice on carving one on one time with kids feels like such a guilt trip. We all know we need to spend more focused time with our kids. I have three myself, ranging from 8-12 years old, and I struggle to spend concentrated time even when I have it. That’s not what this is about. This is more of a relationship hack idea. You may not be able to take your daughter to breakfast every Monday morning, or even go to all of her soccer games, or even have family meals regularly anymore. But you can find nuggets.

What are nuggets? Nuggets are moments, glimpses. In the Bible, they are called “kairos” moments, where the quality of time extends far beyond the quantity. Take one minute, get on your knee, look your son in his eyes, smile and pause, and ask him a meaningful question, like, “What made you smile today?” Spend a day a month, an hour a week, and multiple nuggets every day for undistracted time — one on one. 

When I worked as a pastor, I struggled to be home when I was home. I may have been in the same room with my kids, but I was often thinking about the problems in the church. In this time, I recognized the power of nuggets of sacred time. Be relentless about finding these nuggets of time, even if they are only for one minute. Resilience flows from self-confidence. And self-confidence comes from nurturing relationships. The reliable presence of one, supportive relationship, whether it be a youth pastor, a coach, a teacher, a grandparent or a parent (the most important one), is the foundation for resilience in children. Make this your aim this week. It’s not about quantity (chronos) but quality (kairos).

Ten minutes of fully focused time on the carpet beats a morning at the park looking at your phone while your kids play on the swings.

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Building Resilience in Kids Part 1 |Nuggets of Sacred Time

Chris Pritchett

Chris Pritchett was our first CEO of the Pro Deo Foundation. He currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and three kids. Chris is the Senior Pastor of Mount Olympus Presbyterian Church

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