It is unfortunate that the art, music and movies reflecting the values of our society are blamed for the behavior of kids and adults, when the behavior of kids and adults are also reflecting the values of our society. Our children do not spend the majority of their time listening to music and watching movies. Instead, our children spend the majority of their waking hours in schools learning what we as a culture believe is vital to human development and the development of our culture. It’s not music or movies that are a home away from home, it is schools and they are funded by a government that is failing to provide the funds, structure, support and freedom that schools and their staff need to take great care of the people being raised there.
We don’t need more money for metal detectors, we need teachers to be our best and brightest; and to be extremely well paid. We don’t need schools to be protected from the outside world, we need schools to be at the center of our communities connecting past, present and future generations. We don’t need core curriculum, standardized testing and a strict grading scale, we need physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational health and development to be at the heart of every class, every activity, every sport, every meal and every adult on school grounds. We need schools to be a safe place where kids are learning who they are and how they are designed to take care of themselves, others, their community and their world; and how to develop and give away their time, talents and truth. Schools are our greatest opportunities to right many wrongs and to heal, help and protect our most vulnerable.
If the only place kids can go for 900- 1000 hours a year is void of nutrition, imagination, nature, outside play, exercise classes, art classes, music classes, inspiration creativity, personal and relational development, love, encouragement and teaching that creates thinkers, then we are going to have art, music, movies, TV shows, social media, careers, businesses, men, women, politicians and government embodying and reflecting what they learned as kids. We are going to have leaders who can easily divide and control us with our pocketbooks, pharmaceuticals, addictions, handouts, fears and hate. The results of which would lead to epidemics of depression, suicide, poverty, obesity, diet related sickness and disease, stress, loneliness, addiction, disconnection, relationship breakdown, crime and low self-esteem.
- Nearly 4 in 10 U.S. adults are obese and 70 percent of all Americans are either overweight or obese.
- Obesity is also plaguing 18.5% of America’s youth. By the age of 10, 100% of kids raised on the Standard American Diet are in the first stage of atherosclerosis.
- Diet-related disease and sickness, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, are the leading causes of death in the U.S.
- One in 10 Americans now takes an antidepressant medication and one in four women in their 40s and 50s
- We are a nation in despair. U.S. suicide rates have reached a 30-year high.
- We are a nation in pain, 2 million Americans had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 591,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.
- We are a lonely nation, 20 to 43 percent of American adults over age 60 experienced “frequent or intense” loneliness and as a predictor of early death, loneliness eclipses obesity.
- We are a nation leaving organized religion, 65 percent of churches have plateaued or declining in attendance.
- We are a nation unhappy in our workplaces, Employee unhappiness and disengagement costs companies in the U.S. $450-550 billion a year.
It’s time to stop blaming and start rebuilding an educational foundation that sets teachers free to teach and kids free to learn. It’s time to create spaces that are full of truth and love; and places where kids can be known, accepted and encouraged to become who they are designed to be. It’s time to focus more on imagination, inspiration and encouragement than testing. I do believe where there is truth and love there is hope for change and transformation; and where there is truth and love there is protection from being harmed by selfishness, greed, pride, anger, guilt, shame, pain and fear.