Wherever you live in South Africa today, and however young or old you are, you have had first-hand experience of having to do without electricity. Whether you are privileged or not, all are having to do their homework by candlelight, for extended periods, and go without certain electricity-fuelled luxuries!

We are all experiencing the frustration caused by this disruption, but loadshedding does provide teachable moments (that we should not miss) around resilience, resourcefulness and even entrepreneurship.

Here is a conversation between a dad and his two sons aged 8 and 11 recently:

Dad: Why is this thing with Eskom bad?

Kids: We can’t watch TV.

Dad: Why is that bad?

Kids: Because we miss our favourite programmes.

Dad: And what else?

Kids: We don’t see ads for stuff and then no-one buys stuff.

Dad: And what else?

Kids: Shops can’t open because they have no lights and credit card machines don’t work.

Dad: And why is that bad?

Kids: Then they can’t make any money.

Dad: And what about restaurants?

Kids: They lose business because they can’t cook meals for their customers.

Dad: Why is this thing with Eskom good?

Kids: Because we get to spend more time together as a family talking and playing games

Dad: And what else?

Kids: We now know what other people feel like who don’t have electricity like we do.

Dad: Can you think of any business opportunities because of this thing with Eskom?

Kids: People can start businesses that sell generators.

Dad: And what else?

Kids: People can service generators or design machines to save electricity and sell them.

So, the moral of the story is that in every bad situation we must teach our kids to figure out the good and, more importantly, to spot the opportunities. In times of crisis, human beings become innovative – out of desperation comes innovation.

One day they’re going to be in business too. They need to be able to think critically when things go wrong. If we teach our children to throw their hands up in the air as victims, they may become victims of circumstance, leading them to name, blame and shame anything and everyone else for the situation and the circumstances in which they find themselves.

Teach them to step back when things are not going well to see what the opportunities are, and what the positives might be. This is so important because it gives perspective and it gives hope. Empower them with possibility thinking.


While you may need to go to Plan B when the lights go down, you can also make it fun too. Here are some ideas:

  • Read the book Who Moved My Cheese together as a family. It’s a quick read that will appeal to all and help them understand that change means you need to change the way you think and what you do.
  • Play word games. Here are two:


I want a rhyme in double quick time

and the word to rhyme is…… E.g. stop, rake, cat

Listening skills

Auditory discrimination

Matching sounds

Word Ball.  This is a word association game.  Let your imagination run wild – the kids do!  Call out a word e.g. kettle. The next player calls out whatever word comes to mind setting off a train of thought, e.g. tea, coffee, milk, sugar, steam, engine, railway, clickety-clack, etc.



Association skills

Free thought

When the lights go down and screens go off, this is the perfect time to have fun with your kids and teach them important concepts at the same time. Turn your frustration into healthy memories that will last forever. Be more emotionally present and learn to connect and create entertainment in a very different way. It costs nothing but a bit of your time and attention, and it will create amazing memories for your kids (“Remember what we used to do in when the lights went out…”).

We need to help our children find a way out of their discomfort, out of the irritation, out of the frustration caused by load shedding, by laughing with them and having fun. This shows them how to be resourceful and resilient when the chips are down. There may be nights when you have to eat sandwiches for supper instead of a hot meal or have a lukewarm shower because the geyser didn’t heat up. Finding a workaround is a skill that will help them for life.

Much love,
Nikki Bush
Human Potential and Parenting Expert helping you to win at work and life

For more tips on raising resilient children read my book Future-proof Your Child for the 2020s and beyond (Penguin Random House, 2019).  You can also join my Facebook group called Parenting Matters to continue the conversation.