…Hawaiian myths explain the weird natural features including the tiny, tear-shaped lava rocks that lie all around on the volcano’s sides, named “Pele’s tears” after the Hawaiian fire goddess. The legend has it that if you take any of Pele’s tears away with you, you will be cursed for the rest of your life, unless you return them to where they belongIn the midst of all the beauty, Hawaii has some dark and sinister stories.
Mirena remembers a Hawaii from before the tourism boom, growing up playing in the red Anahola dirt, running through the cane fields.
Emmy Werner and Ruth Smith. Werner and Smith were psychologists who had become interested in which factors in a child’s early life set them off on a positive trajectory, and which ones really get in the way of them reaching their full potential.
700 children involved into two groups. Approximately two-thirds were thought to be at low risk of developing any difficulties, but about one-third were classed as “high-risk”: born into poverty, perinatal stress, family discord (including domestic violence), parental alcoholism or illness.
The researchers expected to find that the “high-risk” children would do less well than the others as they grew up. In line with those expectations, they found that two-thirds of this group went on to develop significant problems.
Strikingly, even some children who had “gone off the rails” in their teenage years managed to turn things around and get their lives back on track by the time they were in their 30s and 40s, often without the help of mental health professionals.
“Our relationships really are key,” says McCubbin. “One person can make a big difference.”
It seems blindingly obvious that how we are cared for by our parents or primary caregivers is crucial, but the growing realization of just how important love and affection are to children has only come about in the last century.
Rutter sees this resilience in the face of adversity as a dynamic process: “Resilience initially was talked about as if it were a trait, and it’s become clear that’s quite the wrong way of looking at it,” he says. “It’s a process, it’s not a thing.”