"Just say YES!" to healthy, cool and fun activities, "Just say YES!" to kids!
Then we will have the drug-free (or drug-reduced) society which we are looking for.
May I suggest too that with the amount of time spent in the schools, and the influence that has on the inner life, that schools have an often overlooked role to play in the drug/sex/alchohol explosions among our kids. Over-stressed, with their curiosity under-fed while they cram facts and figures in their heads which are to be forgotten promptly anyway, our kids are bored out of their minds and frustrated, strained, in some cases not even given recess time. How can we expect our kids to perform like robots, spit out facts and numbers like a machine, and expect them to act with dignity and respect? If we herd them like cattle to the ringing of the bells, treat them like robots and conveyor belt products to produce in a job machine, then how can they respond with dignity when thus stripped of it? If we want our kids to respond with dignity, we must first treat them with that respect and love, in consideration of their youthful needs. Youth need to play (they need recess). Every human being needs breaks. If bells were dulcimer-like chimes that would be a lot more soothing than an alarm which makes your spine cringe. Brain cramming (ie studying for tests) is not the same as education: In fact, it teaches our kids to be habitually bored. When we are turned off, we also turn off the learning facility. We no longer take in information: In fact, we screen it out. So much for "education".
While visiting San Francisco's Exploratorium, a hands-on experimental science museum, a family member noted that there was not one case of attention deficit or wandering attention. Not from four-year-olds, not from grandparents, and not from anyone at any age inbetween. Everybody was having such a blast that if they even knew they were learning, they forgot all about it. Blowing winds through sands behind glass and watching the wind patterns snake their way through the beige particles; turning the pitch up and down on a sound machine and watching the beautiful sound wave patterns formed in the sand; walking through a whirlwind machine; this and so many more fun experiments engaged eye, body, and emotion alike. Everybody was thrilled and everybody's curiosity was stimulated.
If education was geared toward stimulating curiosity, if questions were encouraged, if thinking itself was cultivated, if emotions were appealed to in wonderful and beautiful ways, if the arts were used as a tool to develop wonder and character in life (more about this later), etc....then we might not have the frustrated creative energy seeking the negative channels now sought by our kids.
Expecting our very young kids to sit like Grandma in the Tea Parlor, from age six on, is hardly realistic. How about hands-on in our educational system?
Arts education statitics emailed by US Representative Lynn Woolsey's office would testify to the importance of arts in the schools:
Kids with an arts background, according to US statistics, a) score an average of 100 points higher on their SAT's b) are more likely to be of public service as adults c) at-risk youth are 45% (or was it 55%? quoting conservatively at 45%) less likely to repeat their crimes.
Now that's a testimony, isn't it?
Respect, developing wonder and curiosity, the arts, and allowing kids their youthful need for play and fun may just be keys to developing a healthy psychology, which in turn would doubtlessly help not only the drug and alchohol overuse but would also reduce the crime rate. Or, so one would think, anyway.
For the rest, we at home can give our kids the gift of self-esteem, resources printed out in lists, broadened horizons, and general sense of "I can" and "I'm good" and, above all, a sense of hope.
Thank you all for your help and if you agree with this, please spread word.
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