Resiliency matters on every level

  • Published
  • By Linda Ambard
  • Hanscom Community Support Coordinator
Resiliency is the ability to rebound or adapt after adversity, trauma, tragedy, or even high-levels of stress. Everyone has a certain level of resiliency. Like a rubber band, we stretch, deal with stress and rebound from stress, however, at some point the rubber band stops returning to its pristine form.

Nobody knows when the rubber band will snap or when it will simply stop responding -- people are like that.

Resiliency has become a word discussed throughout the military, yet the concept has been around longer than any of us. The resiliency program stands out because it is critical to each of us.

We are all born with a certain level of hardiness. Babies that should die, fight to survive, while others who appear stronger and healthier do not survive. Innate resiliency is only a small component of the puzzle. This does not mean that a person cannot grow hardy.

A family can foster resiliency by communicating, having a faith-based system and developing humor within the family. Humor produces optimism, self-confidence, adaptability and an opportunity to see better days.

Through seeing better days, a person can look beyond what is happening in the moment and adapt. Optimism leads to being able to rely on one's internal strength and self-confidence. In other words, today may really be hard, but tomorrow may be better.

By engaging youth in resiliency activities, they develop increased sensory awareness, positive expectations, positive humor and an understanding of one's strengths in relation to another's accomplishments.

Military children that are involved in positive resiliency activities are able to withstand the pressures of the military lifestyle and the normal childhood stressors. They are able to think more positively, logically and they are able to bounce back quicker from the temporary setbacks of moves, deployments, friends moving and not living close to home.

Many have heard my story of loss. I took a stress test after my spouse died. I scored 524 points. Anything over 100 is considered a high level of stress and is a predictor of illness. People understood why my stress levels were so high. I had lost a spouse and I was living overseas.

I gave that same test to 124 seventh-graders in Ansbach, Germany. I never expected the results I got. Of the 124 students tested, 118 of them scored between 480 and 500 points. Why? They had not lost a parent, but they had a parent that was deploying for the eighth or ninth time. They had parents coming home from a deployment looking normal, but bearing the invisible scars of having seen too much.

A light bulb went off. Resiliency is more than a trendy word. Resiliency matters to all of us.

In the months ahead, As the Community Support Coordinator, I will be writing about resiliency and activities that will help foster internal strength, flexibility and adaptability -- because resiliency matters on every level.

Editor's note: Linda Ambard is the acting Community Support Coordinator. The position was created to help Airmen and their families withstand, recover and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands. For questions concerning resiliency, contact Ambard at or at 781-225-1771.