Sunday, February 18, 2018

What Could Have Made A Difference

I was one of many disadvantaged children, although not as disadvantaged as some. My father didn't have one of the better-paying jobs and we didn't have medical insurance. At least we always had a decent house to live in. My father had mental health issues, didn't earn much, and my mom stayed home to take care of us more so when my brother was born with a neural tube defect -- most likely due to poor nutrition while pregnant and insufficient folic acid.

Home life (and school) was all I knew with the exception of an occasional visit to the zoo or to visit cousins. I learned fear at an early age, was bullied in school, didn't have friends, didn't learn what was inappropriate behavior, nor did I know my rights as a living human being. What we all had to the advantage was genetic intelligence. But what good was being intelligent if you thought you were worthless and ugly? And who decides what is right for every person and every family?

What I believe would have made a difference in the early years:


Grade School

  • Introduce meditation. Make meditation the first thing you did in homeroom.
  • Screening for eyesight and hearing, then free glasses and hearing aids.
  • Screening for food allergies and sensitivities. (I had a lot of unidentified ones.)
  • Mental health screening tests vs. state proficiency tests.
  • Diffuse essential oils and introduce what they are and how to use them (to reduce stress, improve study abilities and energy, reduce air-borne pathogens, and improve mood).
  • Early education about healthy families with open sharing and discussion. (Not every child has access to a church or other religious programs which help with this and even if they do, usually it is bible study related vs. group support.) 
  • Communication classes to include how to express feelings with "I" statements.
  • Bully awareness, what makes them behave the way they do, and how to stand up to them.
  • Introduce compassion and encourage students to have empathy for the loners. (Hopefully, there would be a lot less bullying.)
  • Free instruments and art supplies for children in need.
  • Introduction to nutrition, a community garden, and if appropriate, a community farm.
  • Stop the use of tablets and cell phones in the classroom which affect student attention spans and the development of their young brains.
  • Group projects to promote teamwork vs. homework.*

Middle School

  • Ongoing "support groups" after mental health screening determines a need.
  • Additional classes in communication.
  • Healthy dating (not just sex education) and include education about sexual predators. Hopefully, if this educational path is followed as outlined, there wouldn't be any. Troubled humans who need money to survive will do horrific things to earn it. Hopefully, mental health screenings in grade school would have identified children at risk.
  • The importance of friendship and trust.
  • Nutrition--how to read labels. Community garden and nutrition projects. 
  • PE to include Tai Chi, Chi Gong, and self-defense.
  • Continue diffusing essential oils.
  • Limited use of electronics.
  • Hidden cameras and open reporting (w/video proof) of bullying and who starts the fights. Too many of the wrong kids get into trouble after being pushed into striking first and too many bullying incidents go unreported because those who are bullied are too afraid to say anything.
  • Introduction to various career options.
  • Bring back home economics, make home ec classes co-ed, and include growing your own food--community garden.
  • Model the Kealing Magnet School in Austin's educational program.
  • Group projects to promote teamwork vs. homework.*

High School

  • Continue classes in communication and relationships to inlude the difference between infatuation and love as well as how to resolve conflicts in healthy ways.
  • Mental health, depression, and positive psychology. (Support groups for those who need them.)
  • Nutrition--natural ways to improve health and immunity as well as care if we get sick. Stress sugar and the Standard American Diet causes Diabesity, Depression, and many other health issues. Community garden.
  • Sociology; more about bullying. Bullies exist in the workplace, too, as well as inappropriate sexual harassment. Teach strategies for self-protection.
  • Introduce community service projects. (Habit for Humanity vs. Shop, sewing for people in nursing homes, food prep for the homeless, etc.)
  • Bring in all types of speakers to represent all types of jobs (or show films about them). Include the police and fire department who can educate students on crime, human trafficking, and scams.
  • Continue Tai Chi, Chi Gong, and self-defense classes.
  • Increase the number of certification programs in the high schools so college is not a necessity to get a good paying job.
  • Finance: teach students the cost of credit as well as the stress of debt, balancing a checkbook, saving for a rainy day, and how to find a good quality used cars (and later home).
  • Basic auto mechanics for everyone.
  • Toastmasters programs (Gavel Clubs) to foster leadership, confidence, and speaking skills.
  • Group projects to promote teamwork vs. homework.*
* When I went to the University of Phoenix, it was the first type of education I did well in with the exception of the Business Major in High School. As a group, we each had skills the others didn't and by working as a team, we each contributed our strengths to the good of the whole. We all did well and felt good about the educational process. Most corporations require the ability to work in teams. The downside is UOP promised when we graduated, we'd get a promotion and a raise to cover the debt we incurred. This turned out not to be true and most of us fell for it, with student loan debt more than we could handle.

With many more children introduced to these programs at an early age, I believe we'd have a greater percentage of healthy functional adults who are less likely to succumb to addictions--and are empowered to influence our world for the better.


Post High School

  • Promote more low-cost or free community colleges for the first two years of post-high-school education. 
  • Provide ongoing job and college search services at the high school students graduate from.
  • Promote students who have graduated opportunities to teach and mentor the younger ones.
  • Require marriage license programs before you can get one which includes classes so you know what you're getting into with topics that include finance, parenting, communication, and conflict resolution (vs. arguments, fighting, abuse). 
  • Take out "to death do you part" of marriage contracts. A spouse should know its ok to leave under certain circumstances and have a place they can afford to go if they don't have friends or family to live with. 
  • Stress levels increase due to income limitations (inability to find a job or something that pays more than minimum wage), unplanned pregnancies, as well as dysfunctional relationships and marriages.
  • Build a LOT more affordable housing (based on income). The waiting list of existing housing is quite long.

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