As I was sitting on my bike, in full speed through sunny air on my way to work last week, this thought, or maybe it was more of a surprising-shocking question, came to me. Most thoughts really just come and go pretty unnoticed, but this one was just striking me strongly, I started to frown my forehead, and eventually it caused a determined head-shaking as it was so weird so realize this reality: Why on earth don’t we get taught to take care of ourselves at school?? It felt completely absurd to think myself back to my school years, which had given me a lot, but taught me nothing about how we, as the unique, strong and fragile human beings we are, could (should!) take responsibility for our own physical and mental health.
If we learned for example how to deal with our emotions, or got inspired by self-chosen diet experiments, we would have an overall more healthy society for sure, and all that would obviously save immense costs in our health care system. Schools could function as a great preventive. Sadly, it often seems to be quite the opposite: That schools and whatever happens there is the cause for psychological unease.
In my curriculum at high school, I had for example sports (where we learned to play different ball games and trained certain techniques) and biology (where I was taught interesting stuff about X-linked inheritance, natural fluctuations of ecosystems and PGD). Never was the subject of our own wellbeing part of class in these subjects, even though they totally have huge potential for that. I loved high school, and I often passionately absorbed the intellectual input and the challenges it brought to my thinking. Our own wellbeing, however, always stayed our own private business. And I’ve been learning over the past years, during my first years after school, that there’s a whole bunch of stuff to learn about our own wellbeing and how we can and should influence it by the lifestyle, food and (non-)activities we choose.
I remember my math teacher, who had recently suffered from a heart attack at that point, and he introduced us to a visualization exercise that he had learned during his time at rehab. He taught us a relaxing technique he called “a mini holiday” we could drop into for a couple of minutes during hour-long final exams in order to retain a fresh brain with wise thoughts. And I believe THAT’S what we need (much!!!) more of. I feel lucky, I also remember that several teachers didn’t put pressure on us, one of them opened class with a humorous and laid back “Has actually anyone of you guys done the homework I gave you for today?”
Still, there were basically no classes on how we could take care of ourselves and our health. By then, it was probably only our parents’ standard repetitive advice that wanted us to go to bed in time and eat well and warm. But that was it.
This morning, I happened to like Dalai Lama’s Facebook page and his most recent post was the quote down below. Yey, he thinks the same way as I do! It’s good to see new subjects such as mindfulness, kindness/compassion and conflict resolution slowly appear on school schedules.
I deeply wish to witness and be part of making these rare exceptions the precious standard of a future status quo.
High five to the Dalai Lama
“Modern education with its focus on material goals and a disregard for inner values is incomplete. There is a need to know about the workings of our minds and emotions. If we start today and make an effort to educate those who are young now in inner values, they will see a different, peaceful, more compassionate world in the future.” – Dalai Lama
So, onward and upward from here!