To the Editor-
The great Benjamin Franklin is a highly-quoted individual, whose advice rings true even today. I’ve selected a few of his quotes to help guide this piece on the epidemic of tragic massacres in our country. Franklin spoke about prevention, preparation, persistence, and – most importantly – unity. In order to combat the rise in tragedies, we must unite our efforts.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To begin, we should work to re-implement mental health education in our public schools. We currently teach physical education and academic education – wouldn’t mental health education be the logical “third leg” to our stool?
Rather than adding content to existing courses, I am suggesting that we create and implement a new curriculum with specially trained educators. It may sound like “new-agey fluff” – but how often do you deal with stress in your daily life? I’m betting it comes up much more frequently than the quadratic equation or the Oxford comma. Why not start our little ones off learning healthy ways to manage stress before it becomes a bigger problem? Let’s work on creating an “ounce of prevention,” so we won’t need “a pound of cure.”
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” We can change our future if we begin NOW. At my elementary school, we had “specials” – classes we’d leave the classroom for – art, gym, music and guidance. In guidance, we learned about emotions, personal safety and more.
Due to budget cuts, guidance classes were phased out and counselors were split between schools. Groups for at-risk students still met, but the classes that taught all students were cut. By making extreme cuts to the guidance program, our school board neglected the mental health of its students.
It seems logical to me to have guidance classes for students, throughout their education. Guidance classes would be like the nail in this Franklin quote, “A little neglect may breed great mischief…for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost.” The lost rider would be our children. Let’s provide our children with full-time counselors, classes, and a well-supported mental health program to give them the tools they need to succeed.
“Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” Maybe we don’t have a perfect plan for mental health education now, but we can implement one and improve, change, and adapt it as we go. As long as we begin somewhere, we can address the issue of mental wellness, starting small and working our way up to a better program.
“Little strokes fell great oaks.” We can create change if we work together to “chop down” our “oak” that is mental health and its attached stigmas.
Let’s stop arguing about guns and start working together to provide our children and our nation with a better foundation of mental health. Join the revolution!
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