Health Column

by Sifu (Dr.) Rikin Patel MD

In this edition, we continue with the 7 C model of building resilience in children and teens and how the training at WFKA partners in this cause. You may also enjoy reviewing Part I.

The third principle is Connection. It is well established that children with close ties to family, friends and community are more likely to have a solid sense of security that produces strong values and prevents them from seeking destructive alternatives. The WFKA strives to build a sense of physical safety and emotional security at the school, while challenging everyone to strive to their individual potential. An important question for parents to ask is if this safety and security are also being fostered at home? It is also important for parents to allow their children to express all types of emotions rather than suppress unpleasant feelings. Giving them the space to connect with you and others to seek support is critical.

Character is fundamental sense of right and wrong. Children with character enjoy a strong sense of self-worth and confidence. A fundamental sense of boundaries allows children and teens to be more comfortable in sticking to their values. At WFKA character development is at the core of Kung fu training. Discipline, respect, hard work, honesty, commitment and caring for others and are some of the core character traits that are encouraged for success in Kung fu. In turn these qualities ripple into every aspect of martial artists life. As parents, modeling these character traits is not only one of the best ways to boost yours and your child’s resilience but in turn also all the people they will positively impact.

The fifth principle is Contribution. Children who understand the importance of personal contribution gain a sense of purpose that can motivate them. The opportunity to contribute in turn also enhances their own competence, character and sense of connection. The entire lineage of Kung fu as a martial art has sustained itself on the principle of contribution and giving back to others what has been given to you. Regardless of rank, training at WFKA provides ample opportunities to contribute both inside the kwoon and outside. If you are unsure please ask the instructors. For parents and all students, it’s important to model generosity and the value of serving others.

Coping is the attempt to overcome problems and difficulties. When coping is learned by children, they can more effectively handle stress and overcome life’s inevitable challenges. The environment at WFKA provides a safe environment for positive coping strategies to be rigorously developed through sparring, competitive performance, teaching, and public speaking. The center of all coping strategies will be patience and guided self-reflection.

The seventh principle is Control. When children realize they can control the outcomes of their decision and actions, they are more likely to know that they can do what it takes to bounce back. A resilient child knows that she has internal control and that her choices and actions can shape the results. The emphasis on taking personal responsibility for one’s development of Kung Fu knowledge and skills is fostered immediately upon starting one’s training at WFKA and is continually stressed for continued development and progression. However, as parents and students, it important to understand and teach that not all circumstances can be controlled but being adaptable and choosing positive behaviours can shift our odds towards success.

To conclude, it’s important to emphasize how interrelated these 7 ingredients of resilience are. Taking the time to reflect on how each of these can be developed through Kung Fu training will tremendously improve our lives and all whom we influence.

The 7 Cs Model

This model of 7 Cs has been taken from Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg book “Building Resilience in Children and Teens.” A common language about resilience will allow us, as a Kung Fu community, to collaborate better and help one another grow as individuals and as a community.

These 7 interrelated principles are:

  1. competence
  2. confidence
  3. connection
  4. character
  5. contribution
  6. coping
  7. control