Over the weekend, my wife and I came across an independent biographical drama film titled Walt Before Mickey. As you may have guessed, it was about the early years of Walt Disney.

By Hills Adventist College 07 June 2016

The film covered the early years of Walt Disney’s early years of business, during which he started various businesses including Laugh-O-Gram Studio and The Walt Disney Company with fellow animator Ub Iwerks and Roy Disney.

What really stood out in the movie was the resilience of the man! He started with nothing after the war, moving to Kansas City where he created his first animation studio Laugh-O-Gram Studio. He was able to sell the animations to the local theatre owner but had to file for bankruptcy because he sold them at cost, making no profit. He lost his company and was homeless. 

He moved to Los Angeles and founded the company Disney Brothers. They created two animated series, Alice Comedies and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. But bad business decisions resulted in him losing the rights to both of these popular characters, leaving the company in serious debt.  Attempts to secure a new deal for his company in New York failed. On the train ride with his wife Lillian Disney, he created the concept of a mouse, originally named Mortimer, which would become Mickey Mouse. And the rest is history…

Regardless of what discouragement and difficulties he faced, Walt Disney was able to rise above them. He had an innate sense of optimism, of hope that he could succeed.

Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; having a toughness, an ability to bounce back.

Some children are resilient by nature with a temperament that helps them to be mentally and physically tough. After a setback or disappointment, they get straight back up.  Rejection in the playground doesn’t faze them. Unfortunately, not every child has such natural resilience.

Fortunately, research shows that resilience can be nurtured and developed, particularly when parents themselves are resilient and they actively foster it in their children.

From a resilience perspective, parents need to coach children through some of their more challenging moments and reviewing what they may have learned for next time. Parents should avoid solving all their problems for them.

You can promote a lasting sense of resilience in your children by:

  • Having a positive attitude, yourself. Your attitude as a parent impacts on their ability to bounce back from some of the difficulties they face. Make sure you model a “you can do it” attitude for your child when he/she meets some of life’s curve balls.
  • Look for teachable moments. Many children’s learning opportunities are disguised as some of the challenges they face.
  • Make children active participants in the family. Active participation in a family develops the self-help, problem-solving and independence skills in children that are necessary for resilience.
  • Build children’s coping skills. There are plenty of strategies you can pass on to children to help them cope when life doesn’t go their way, including acceptance, getting away for a while and normalisation.

Promoting resilience in children is not a single event but a continuous process that requires adults to be supportive and empathetic when things don’t go their way. It also required you as a parent to have an understanding of resilience, so you have faith in yourself, and your child’s ability to cope.

Excerpt from Parenting Ideas Club (

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