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Embracing uncertainty: The power of being okay not knowing

It can be unsettling not knowing how to respond in tricky situations. There is pressure to have it all together, to know, to be confident - to at least appear "in control". Yet in those moments of uncertainty it can be a relief to acknowledge that we don't know.

I often think about how we say to children and youth that we learn from our mistakes, that we grow from moving through our fears and uncertainties, yet often, we as adults do not actively model that we are hesitant, insecure, or are afraid to engage in the very ways we ask kids to.

Some of the ways we can respond in the face of uncertainty include:

  • pausing to breathe

  • not saying anything immediately

  • taking a break by grabbing a drink or heading to the washroom

  • being aware of our triggers so we can compassionately assess whether we can support the situation or whether we need to tag out with another staff

  • whenever possible, pro-actively share with our colleagues how we're doing and what triggers we have

How we respond in tricky situations are opportunities to model self-care, awareness, and boundaries for the children and youth we support.

For more information about ways to embrace uncertainty and develop tools to support tricky situations, visit


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