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They didn’t teach this in school…


Our family of origin has been going through a LOT these past years, heightened more in recent months as our parents march more clearly towards transition. Emotions are high and as we navigate day to day, there’s a key element that keeps most of us glued together – respect, compassion, forgiveness and faith that we’re all doing the best we can. We may have our “moments”, but they pass.

But these things don’t come easily and we certainly weren’t formally taught how to create and nurture healthy relationships in school. Most of us weren’t specifically taught how to be kind and how to listen.

I remember a handful of my teachers – especially 3rd grade homeroom – who made me feel the size of a peanut. Of course even the teachers had their baggage they brought through the school doors each morning. Which only adds to my point.

Shouldn’t these be skills we all learn in an intentional, well thought-out and respectful way?

Church and religion can fill an important role here and I’m sure it does in some instances. But is it enough to really impact behavior over time?

Influence of the parents can – and does – also fill an important role, but there are so many variables in the familial setting that it’s overall hard to be consistent. Things like: are the parents modeling good relationship interactions? Are both parents happy, healthy and involved as they are able? These are stressful times and many would answer “No” to these questions.

It seems we’d benefit from looking this tough one – relationships – head on and recognizing that we need to formalize the process of learning how to communicate and be in relationship with one another. To be good people.

I’m raising my hand to start the conversation about rethinking the essential subjects in school. While an unlikely place to start in some senses, it also feels like the absolute right place – it’s where our children spend so much time. (And emphasis on good communication would help the educational experience holistically, one would think.)

As my old boss used to say, I’m probably like Don Quixote swinging my arms at the windmill. I understand this is a bigger than BIG topic to wrestle to the ground. But can’t we just start?

Ordering a latte at Starbucks is easy. Navigating the emotional terrain of dying parents is not.

By the way, classes on tax preparation would be helpful too.


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