Setting the Stage
Ask students to define the word resilience. What does resilience mean to them? Share this Merriam Webster dictionary definition of resilience with students: "the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens." Ask students to name some synonyms for resilience. Some include, strong, tough, hardy, irrepressible, and buoyant.
Historical figures who have embodied resilience include Anne Frank, who kept a positive spirit while hiding from German soldiers during World War II, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela, all of whom overcame great obstacles and personal suffering to become global leaders. Fictional heroes in literature and film who have exhibited resilience include Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, Rocky, Little Orphan Annie, Katniss from The Hunger Games, and Mark Watney, the astronaut abandoned on Mars, from The Martian.
Ask students to think of their favorite character—either fictional or real—who fought against the odds to overcome obstacles. What motivated them to keep going? What inspires students to persevere through their own difficulties?