Teaching what we need to Teach

For me, advocacy is not about picket signs or saying the right lines
Advocacy is about seeing something that needs to change
Gathering together and doing the work to chart a new way

Trouble is these days, so much needs to change
Yet, there are commonalities
We need to move away from disconnection to integration
From judgement to compassion
We need to move towards more holistic education

We need to do more about teaching what it is to be human
Not just our ABCs and 1,2,3s
We need to teach about feelings
Not just happy, sad or angry
We need to teach the true complexity of emotional literacy
We need to teach what it is to work through deep grief or loss
We need to teach the skills of how to stay grounded and mindful when feeling tossed
We need to equip people to ride the emotional tides of their lives

According to the WHO, depression is the leading cause of disability around the globe
This needs to be a wake up call
Education can help give people what they need to know
The knowledge and skills are out there
They just need to be more effectively relayed
To all people no matter their mental state

For we all have mental health
I think we’ve reached the day when it’s time to say
Where are our mental health classes?
It’s not just physical health we need to teach to the masses
Where are our classes on mindfulness?
This is not just a Buddhist practice, but one that benefits people of all ages
Life is not an easy road and we all face challenges as you may well know
Isn’t time we equipped younger generations with the tools before they “needed it”?
Isn’t time we taught not only about the rational, but also emotional “side” of our minds?

And it’s not just about the gap in emotional literacy and mental health education
The environment too is in great need of our attention

We need to teach about how we are intertwined with the natural environment around us
To the air we breathe, to the water we drink and of course the food we eat
We need to teach about how we have a responsibility to care for the earth
Not just by dropping a pop can in a recycling bin, but in our everyday decisions
We need to teach how to bring in the environment in the choices we make at home and work
To see the ground we walk upon is more than just dirt

The ecosystem services our natural systems provide are staggering
Just look at all that is gained by something as ubiquitous as trees
They provide oxygen, filter water, protect from flooding, store carbon, self-fertilize, provide habitat, add great aesthetic beauty, and the list goes on
Having a deeper appreciation of the intrinsic and extrinsic value of nature
Changes the kind of decisions we make
If this level of knowledge, awareness and appreciation was taught consistently
The changes would be striking
Nature too has found to have great impacts on our well-being

So perhaps these are a few of the gaps I’ve found in our education system
I am still working on gathering together with other like-minded people to create a vision
And work towards educational tools that would help to see through this mission

Yet even in writing it down
I feel one step closer in bringing these changes round


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