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Using Play to Learn Resilience: Jake’s Approach and Success Stories

In this episode of The Joy of Living, Jake Roussos shares his inspiring journey from Santa Monica, California, to Costa Rica, focusing on resilience and social-emotional learning. He discusses the importance of returning from challenges and emphasizes that everyone has what they need within themselves. Jake also highlights the significance of breathwork, play, and experiential learning in teaching resilience to children.

Key topics include:

  • Jake’s perspective on resilience and personal growth.
  • Teaching problem-solving and emotional regulation to kids.
  • The role of play in learning and self-awareness.
  • Success stories of children learning to trust their inner guidance.
  • The ripple effect of positive actions and community impact.

Join us to learn how Jake uses play and mindfulness to help children and adolescents become leaders of their own lives.

Show Notes:

[11:00] Introduction and Discussing Resilience

  • Host introduces Jake, highlighting his impressive qualities and background.
  • Jake’s move from Santa Monica, California to Costa Rica, and his service work.
  • Host creates an acronym for resilience: “Realizing Enthusiasm Spurs Insights, Leading Inner Energy, Nurturing Creative Expression.”
  • Jake shares his perspective on resilience, emphasizing the importance of bouncing back from challenges.
  • Discussion on how resilience developed for Jake during his 20s, including support from a community and coach.
  • Emphasis on the belief that everyone has everything they need within themselves to overcome challenges.

[15:22] Teaching Resilience and Social-Emotional Learning

  • Jake talks about his experiences in Costa Rica and the importance of maintaining values.
  • Sharing an example of teaching problem-solving to a 9-year-old boy.
  • Discussion on the importance of breathwork and managing needs.
  • Introduction of the concept of social-emotional learning for kids and teens.
  • Jake’s approach to teaching is through play and using toys to facilitate learning.
  • Explanation of accessing happy hormones through simple actions.

[19:00] Experiential Learning and the Power of Play

  • Jake emphasizes the use of play for experiential awareness and learning.
  • Socrates’ wisdom of “know thyself” is highlighted as timeless.
  • Discussion on the versatility of play, whether it’s a game of cards, basketball, or playing in the ocean waves.
  • Jake’s nature is to give and help others, primarily through his involvement with “Swim With Heart.”
  • Importance of water as a teacher and its role in Jake’s life and teaching methods.
  • The acronym DOSE, representing Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins, is introduced, and it is described as a “dose of hope.”

 [29:37] Social-Emotional Learning Through Play 

  • Jake’s mission to help children and adolescents become leaders of their own lives through play.
  • Emphasis on teaching decision-making amidst external pressures.
  • Jake’s approach to mindfulness and self-awareness exercises, such as breathwork and heart-space focus.
  • The success story of a 13-year-old boy learning to trust his inner guidance.
  • Discussion on the strengths-based approach, encouraging kids to leverage their strengths to solve problems and navigate challenges.
  • Reinforcement of the concept that learning through play builds self-trust and resilience.

[50.23] Ripple Effect and Community Impact

  • Discussing the ripple effect of positive actions and interactions.
  • Shout out to Mikey from Swim With Heart for her work with challenged children.
  • It is essential to achieve personal goals and the joy (Journey of You) it brings.
  • Encouraging a growth mindset and family involvement in the learning process.
  • Promoting the value of play and community rituals to strengthen family bonds.
  • Highlighting the stability and family-oriented culture in Costa Rica.

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About Jake Roussos

Jake is a dedicated children’s advocate with over 15 years of professional experience in youth development. With a background in lifeguarding and aquatics, coupled with certification as a Kid’s Life Coach, Jake is committed to empowering children to thrive. Additionally, he brings expertise as a breathwork facilitator, enriching his approach to holistic child development.