One of the greatest values our ancestors lived by and passed onto us is the value of Strength-based living. Embracing this value during the COVID-19 pandemic will increase you, your family, and community’s resiliency.

What does the strength really mean? One interpretation is physical strength, for example one can be strong such as to lift a heavy object. Strong also means to resist force or hold heavy weights without breaking or being damaged. In terms of COVID-19 we can embrace strength as our ancestors would have and did with many pandemics to overcome crisis.

Strength-based does not mean to look at the world though the lens of positivity and simply minimize or overlook challenges. Strength-based means honouring our experiences and challenges, naming them, and looking for the strengths that can be cultivated in each of us, to overcome the challenges. This is a growth mind-set.

Everyone has unique strengths that can be cultivated during these times, maybe it’s patience that you embrace with your children, courage that you develop by overcoming and embracing uncertainty, or compassion that grows by nurturing others. Our ancestors recognized that life inherently has challenges, and that challenges provide us with the opportunity to develop and practice our strengths.

What are your strengths that could be developed during these times?

Ask yourself, what are my inherent strengths and what opportunities are presented today to practice my strengths?

Do you have inherent strengths or an internal curiosity, calling you to practice or develop?

PHYSICAL STRENGTH Do you have more time to increase your physical health? Exercise, hike, run, could you invite someone in your family?

MENTAL STRENGTH Do you have a mental strength, such as knowledge, skills, teachings, or stories you that you could share with someone?

EMOTIONAL STRENGTH Do you have emotional strengths that you could practice by supporting someone and offer them the gift of compassionate listening?

SPIRITUAL STRENGTH Do you have spiritual strength, a connection to spirit and all our relations? Could you offer prayers, smudge, brushing off, meditation, or comforting words of support to someone?

Our strengths are inherent in us, gifts from our ancestors. If you experienced any sense of calling to any one of these areas of strengths, follow it, pursue it, you will find your own way to develop your strengths during this time to contribute to you, your family, and communities resilience.

You may experience many emotions during this time, and all are normal. But remember, let the emotion visit and recall that the strength-based way of living that enabled our ancestor’s survival for thousands of years and made them resilient people, which we have intergenerationally received as gifts to support us now. Our ancestors overcame many hardships and challenging times, during such times they drew on their strengths, practiced them and became stronger, as can we.

All my relations, Shawna Biron, MA,


Cynthia Lapp · March 23, 2020 at 7:51 pm

This is a wonderful call to strengthen (!) our relationship with ourselves, our families and ancestors, and all our relations. We are in an individual and global opportunity to be more conscious in our relations on all levels. Thank you for this beautiful writing!

Christine Westland · March 24, 2020 at 3:38 am

I have posted this for my class to read. Thank you Shawna. My class is studying to prepare for the Indigenous Health Care Aid program and learning on line instead of in the class. They are a resilient group. Keep up the good work.

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