By Brent Davis, PhD, General Education Professor
On July 11, I gave a keynote address at the 9th London International Conference online. The subject of the address was “Building Resilience,” a topic that was motivated by the recent pandemic and my work on the future university for the homeless. The work of this university will be to restore the marginalized to professions that will enable them to thrive in today’s economy, but this means dealing with the factors that led to their marginalized condition. This article is adapted from my address.
These factors cannot successfully be addressed in isolation, a systems approach is needed. Systems are characterized by interdependent parts with feedback loops that sometimes work counter intuitively. However, this does not mean that everything is deterministic. For example, the DNA sequence in a gene is not determined by chemical laws although it is made up of molecules. Similarly, although the phonemes of speech are dependent upon physiological processes their sequences are determined by culture. Resilience needs to be addressed at every level to ensure a healthy system.
Thus, resilience comes from healthy lifestyle choices, supportive relationships, and risk management. The book of Ecclesiastes addresses many of these issues. It tells us that meaning and purpose come from depending on God (Ecc. ch. 12), to enjoy your food, rest, and work (ch. 5), and to diversify your investments of time and money (ch. 11). Of all these, the most important is to depend on God for resilience.
Link to the address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsWO0U7Nwa4