(This article is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com)
Last Thursday Dr. Joyce Mikal-Flynn, founder of MetaHab trauma and injury recovery training center in Sacramento, spoke to therapists and school counselors at Sierra Vista Hospital about the value of trauma as an event or experience that offers enormous potential to build resilience. A near death survivor herself, Mikal-Flynn has developed a program to guide therapists in the treatment of people who have survived trauma so they can recover and become stronger than before the event. Her insights are incredibly relevant for the challenges we and our youth experience navigating the social network – which can be an incredibly exhilarating and a potentially hostile experience inflicting trauma such as cyberbullying and feelings of isolation and inadequacy.
An active and accomplished athlete, Mikal-Flynn’s heart gave out at the end of a swimming race and it took 21 minutes of CPR at the site and more necessitations at the hospital before her heart rhythm stabilized. And then she had to learn everything over again, including the names of her family and friends and her nursing profession. Mikal-Flynn describes her journey of recovery as one of discovering the resource within her own heart, mind and soul to pursue greatness. “The crisis event is an opportunity to learn who we can be,” she said. “It comes from revelation, illness, or a trauma.”
MetaHabilitation is a term coined by Mikal-Flynn that recognizes the individual’s capacity and promotes each person’s biological, psychological and spiritual ability to survive, but more importantly, be transformed. Citing Victor Frankl, Mikal-Flynn explains that these events become opportunities to creatively restructure the self and find meaning, even in suffering, lifting anguish, fear, and frustration and ultimately transforming personal tragedy into triumph.
Below are some examples of how this examiner understands MetaHabilitation as insightful for parenting youth engaged in on-line social networks.
- Have faith that your child is equipped for the struggle. “I believe we are hobbling our children when we try to make everything okay for them,” Mikal-Flynn said. “We have ‘exquisite systems’ to overcome tragedy and trauma.” Every modern parent must ask if he or she believes this is true for their own child.
- Consider that growing up in a cyber-powered world is an intensified journey of self discovery. “The word ‘meta’ means to go above and beyond. It is heuristic, a process of discovery and in order to do it you need to have the experience,” she said. “The questions of how and why we can overcome lead us to the answer.” Parents must consider that the answers they have discovered about themselves cannot be substitutes for their children’s process. Their children are on their own journey and must find the answers through the crises and events in their cyber social realms. Your job is to teach them about their own internal resource to receive and impart wisdom in all circumstances positive or negative. This means that parents must monitor the cyber communications, teach them to set age-appropriate boundaries, and keep an open dialogue about what is happening on and off-line so there can be an exchange of lessons learned and imparting of wisdom.
- Anticipate positive outcomes from crises. “Adopting a mindset that prepares you for a better future, a perceived positive outcome is critical,” Mikal-Flynn said. “When you can accept what has happened as a normal response, grieve over the loss of the life you knew before, and then you can choose to let go and pursue a better future.” The serenity prayer is a very powerful way to adjust your heart and mind to be adaptive so that you can impart your wisdom to your child as they encounter the power and control issues in the world. Every person already has the power to choose to forgive – which is to hold individuals accountable by enforcing consequences without seeking revenge so that there can be healing for all involved. When our children learn that the cyber-powered world cannot dominate them unless they surrender their personal power over their own thoughts to the bully, the drug or the device, they can learn how to exercise their own capacity for resilience.
Learn more about MetaHab trainings: MetaHab.
ABOUT: Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God grants every human being intelligence and free will and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.