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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Stress Mess

Our school is in the second year of systematically promoting relationship building between staff members and learners through a mentor program that periodically connects individual staff members with small groups of learners. We had our regular 40 minute mentor meeting today.

There is a curriculum available for staff members to use as an instructional guide throughout these interactions. The curriculum provides topics and activities on a variety of experiences, such as safety, health tips, and much more. The objective isn't solely focused on developing relationships, but also on imparting knowledge as well.

Today's theme was timely and perhaps a reflective of the state of our society in general. The issue was stress. I certainly didn't know or understand the word when I was in elementary school. The world was very different then. I remember bomb drills in third grade when there was a threat of Russian missiles striking the U.S. from Cuba during the famous Cuban Missile Crisis of the Kennedy presidency. That fear aside, I believe that I am not acquiescing to nostalgia when I claim that there were far fewer sources of anxiety and worry back then than there is now.

The shrinking economy has certainly seemed suffocating and produces a sizeable amount of stress to families and, in turn, children. Those learners nearing graduation with hopes for the future face the immense pressure of a challenging job market. Social media, despite offering communication benefits, also allows for some to exploit the technology by expressing vicious vitriol from a distance safe to the bully sender and too close to the receiving victim. There are a myriad number of stressors that litter the path of people. While it's appropriate for the school to discuss stress and its effect and how to deal with it, it's nonetheless a sad commentary on our society that it is a subject that merits consideration for young children.

Here's to a collective New Year's resolution that 2012 will bring hope and good fortune to all.

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