One realizes the full importance of time only when there is little of it left. Every man’s greatest capital asset is his unexpired years of productive life.
– P. W. Litchfield
As a group, surely those who have survived near-death experiences–such as recovering from a severe version of cancer–must be the happiest and self-fulfilled people around.
Here’s one example:
“Cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because my illness was also my antidote: it cured me of laziness.” – Lance Armstrong (US seven-time Tour De France winner, who survived testicular cancer)
What is there about surviving a dangerous event or escaping death that allows those people to appreciate every minute they have afterward?
Some consider it a “second life,” but that’s a euphemism for making better use of time especially showing their appreciation of and love for others. Being given “a second chance” is another way of putting it. That’s not the whole answer.
These people learned a profound lesson from deep personal experience, one they didn’t have the opportunity to know before.
Is that it? Do we have to survive death to live life to the fullest? Well, many people who have experienced a religious awakening (epiphany) or found what they have been looking for in terms of a religious affiliation enjoy life thereafter in much the same way.
Something changes them. Something at a deep personal level.
Note that these examples all involve adults. Can they–do they–happen as well with children? Yes, but we tend to consider these situations of the teacher-plus-student-plus-lesson format. In other words, kids learn life lessons from teachers; sometimes the teachers are their own parents.
We can influence the lives of children in profound and magnificent ways if we teach them life lessons at the right times. However, this seldom happens, or at least too infrequently.
Rarely are such important life lessons found on school curriculum. Ironically, we would never find time devoted in curriculum for tending to discipline problems either. Yet these can take a huge amount of classroom time in some schools.
I say “ironically” because the two situations are related, directly. Children and adolescents want to know about life more than they want to know how to do calculus or speak another language. They’re built that way, just like the young of every other primate and mammalian species.
They want and need to know some things about life–including how to make friends and how to have the skills necessary to do the social exercises necessary to learn about finding life partners–so much so that they resent being “forced” to learn other things that mean little to them at the time. So they may misbehave, drop out or rebel as a way to express their dissatisfaction and discomfort at not receiving what they know naturally they should have from their parents or teachers.
Epiphanies may happen to those children, as adults, who have had a thorough spectrum of learning experiences with life, social and emotional development. But they may be less profound if they have learned the skills they need to find what they require in life when they were young. The results are the same, but the change less significant.
We prepare (or should prepare) children to be people, not just occupiers of jobs. Schools, in general, prepare children for jobs they will or could have as adults.
Someone–schools, parents or a religion–needs to prepare them for life. It’s not happening now, at least not with many kids. We have lots of adults around who have problems and don’t know how to cope with them. They take strange and even self-destructive routes to cope with their problems because they don’t know what else to do.
These life lessons would be both easy and cheap to teach in schools.
We need to authorize our departments of education, our boards of education, our schools, our administrators and our teaches to meet the most important needs that our children are not having met now.
Not only would we have far fewer problems in our communities, our families and our personal lives, the taxes our governments require to deal with miscreants and criminals today would be drastically reduced in the future if such a program were implemented in schools.
One thing is for certain, no school curriculum will change on its own. It likely won’t happen without your support.
‘Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems,’ a guidebook for parents and teachers, the “missing link” in today’s education process.
Learn more at http://billallin.com