Resources in Resilience: The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
Reviewed By: Greg Doyle
Greg Doyle serves as One Summit's Senior Manager of Communications & Development.
Hopes. Dreams. Goals. Regardless of what we call them, we all have things we want for our lives. Some are small. Others are much bigger, requiring a tactical approach, sacrifice and skills such as teamwork, problem-solving and courage.
Just as we all have dreams, all of us encounter obstacles as we pursue the very things we desire. Some are small. Others are much bigger, making our goals and hopes appear – at times – impossible. As we learned from Dan Cnossen’s Profile in Resilience, those who choose and learn how to move forward in the face of these obstacles share a common realization:
We’re defined not by our accomplishments, but rather our response to the adversity, suffering and trauma that presents itself along the journey. Did we spiral down? Muddle through? Or grow?
Those looking for a tangible example of this very process at work will gain insights by reading The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart (Scholastic 2015). Although written for younger readers (Grades 6-8 | Ages 8-12), the book – told through the thoughts of the main character, Mark – encourages us all to evaluate our own hopes, dreams and goals and reflect on the strength needed to tackle the obstacles encountered along the way.
Mark’s goal unveils itself in the very first line of the book: “The mountain was calling me.” Just one sentence later the motivation behind his goal becomes apparent: “I had to run away. I had to.” As the story unfolds, we learn that the mountain that’s calling him isn’t just any mountain, but rather one of the biggest mountains in North America, Mount Rainier – a glaciated, volcanic peak standing over 14,400 feet above sea level. We also learn why he’s running away: “I ran my hands over the fine stubble on my mostly bald head. The baldness I was always trying to hide. The baldness that told the world: This kid’s got cancer. It shouted it.”
What begins as an solitary escape mission quickly turns into an adventure for Mark and his dog, Beau and the lessons he learns in pursuit of Mount Rainier; lessons in many ways parallel to those outlined in our Resource in Resilience on Upside – The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth and instilled at each Climb for Courage:
Friendship & Teamwork: “Beau was by my side. Of course he was. He always was.” (Pg. 175)
Perseverance: "I kept going. Really, that’s all there is to it. I was so sick I shouldn’t have even made it out of the parking lot. But I kept going.” (Pg. 179)
Adversity, Suffering and Trauma Presents an Opportunity to Inspire Others: “Miles to go, buddy,” I said down to Beau with a nod. “Let’s do it.” (Pg. 130)
Importance of Finding & Relying on a Supportive, Like-Minded Community: “I had a son, once.” Wesley said. “He joined the army so he could go to college. When he got sent to Iraq it about killed me. I ain’t really the worrying type, but I swear I didn’t sleep a full night from the moment he shipped out. And when I got the knock on my door, I knew what it was before I opened it and saw the uniforms there. I knew. And they told me. They told me my boy was dead. Thousands of miles away, dead.” "I’m sorry, I [Mark] said." (Pg. 147-148)
Only By Inducing New Challenges Can We Learn How to Overcome our Deepest Fears: “I wasn’t going to die. Not there, anyway. Not then. I closed my eyes and let that thought roll over me. I’d fought the river, and the cold, and the darkness – and I’d won.” (Pg. 127)
Have a Resource in Resilience you would like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.