In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, CT, people have been speaking out about the need for more gun control and better mental healthcare in this country, and I could not agree more with both of those sentiments.
But I’d like add another idea to this mix.
I think we need to pay more attention to – and take better care of – kids’ self-esteem. To how they feel about themselves and others.
A couple of proposals here:
- Grade schools, middle schools and high schools should all have required classes teaching kids how to deal with hurt and loss, how to get along with others, and how to properly communicate when you’re upset with someone.
When I was in high school at John Dewey, we had a class called “Group Dynamics.” You’d come into class with a problem and we’d role play. The teacher would instruct us how to give constructive feedback when you’re angry with someone, and how to solve disagreements in a civil, productive way.
We take it for granted that gym class is a necessary part of school because kids should have healthy bodies. But why don’t we carry that logic to them having healthy minds?
- This should probably wait until high school, but why don’t our schools have a parenting class that teaches what it takes to be a parent?
Why do our kids have to wait to have their own kids to learn some of the ropes of parenting – the responsibility, the finances, the time involved…too many young people don’t understand all of this and then one day it’s like they’re on a blind date with their own baby.
We tend to wait until the holiday season to pay attention to kids that don’t have that much, and even then, we concentrate on tangible things like toys and clothing and shelter. Obviously these are crucial and no kid should go without.
But when is our education system going to start focusing more on the intangible tools kids need that ultimately might be more important?
What are your ideas for improving mental health education in this country? Tell me in the comments section below; one person will wintheir choice of a Jets or Giants Study Buddy.