This video “Shelter from the Storm” is owned by John X Carey
“I don’t know what I want to do with my life.”
When John and his friend got together they told me, “We‘ve tried once, we could try again to commit suicide.” They were only fifth graders.
“I feel ugly. Everyone makes fun of me. I don’t want to come to school,” those are the words of crying second grader, Marisol.
When I offered a free program to help with the bullying problem in her elementary school, the principal told me, “We have no time to deal with all the emotions that our children bring to school. We only have time for academics. Teachers need to comply with district directions. We need every minute to prepare students for the tests.”
“Help!” our children are shouting with their actions.
In 2011 there were 38,000 suicides in the United States, mostly children under the age of 16.
Are we listening?
Our educational system is in crisis.
We treat our children like machines. We feed them information and we expect them to regurgitate it back to us during the tests. What about their feelings? What are we doing to help them manage the rest of their lives?
Unless we wake up and teach our children as total beings, dysfunction and suicide will prevail and even worsen in our society.
Every child is unique, special and powerful. The total child is more than intellect. Body and feelings are always present. The tools that adults provide in all three areas can guide each child to be their personal best. These tools empower the individual to choose to be a winner instead of a victim.
Academic curriculum addresses the intellect. Now we need to add tools for body and feelings management. Adults need to reflect how this is done both at home and school.
Children learn by watching the actions of the adults around them, much more than from words. Therefore how I talk and listen to others, the language I use, the kindness and love I demonstrate, the positive attitude I display in my actions, the courage I display in living my daily life, as well as how responsibly I accept the consequences of my chosen actions, are most important to show children how to be a successful, positive adult.
Adults need to consider the following questions:
Do I provide an emotionally safe environment?
Do I listen carefully?
Do I express myself clearly, without losing my temper? Do I set boundaries?
Do I allow my children to choose, within limits, and be responsible for their choices?
Can my word be trusted?
Do I provide a physically safe environment?
Do I respect my body and that of the child?
Do I understand the power of love?
Do I show it?
Do I understand the power of laughter?
Do I show how wonderful it is to be alive?
Am I grateful every day?
Do I know how to manage myself?
Marisol, John and his friend learned that each person is unique, powerful and has many choices. The last time I saw Marisol, she looked happy. She said she now feels beautiful, has good friends and school is fun. John and his friend went on to middle school feeling more in control of their lives and with a more positive attitude toward their future.
Every person is important. Losing children to drugs or suicide is unacceptable in a rich, caring society. Our schools need to be at the forefront to prepare our children to be winners and lead the world in a positive direction.
It is up to each of us.
The time for change is now.
Maria is the founder of The Self-Management for Kids Program. The Self-Management for Kids program, added to the school academic curriculum, teaches parents, teachers and children the life tools needed for life success and happiness.