How to make the world a better place through emotional literacy education and teaching compassion.

emotional literacy education teaching compassion

Emotional Literacy Education Teaching Compassion
How to Make the World a Better Place Chapter 3
by Mark Zimmerman

Go To:
Chapter 1 Emotional Literacy Education and Self-Knowledge
Chapter 2 Emotional Literacy Language and Vocabulary
Chapter 4 Emotional Literacy Education Understanding Fear
Chapter 5 Emotional Literacy Education, Hate, Violence & September 11, 2001
Chapter 6 Abraham Maslow, Emotional Literacy and Ortho-Education
Chapter 7 A Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham Maslow
Chapter 8 Self-Knowledge Learning Needs vs. Maslow's Self-Actualization Skills
Chapter 9 National Standardized Test, FCAT Testing and State Tests
Chapter 10 The Cause of War and a Solution

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Compassion, which brings with it the sensitivity to the pain of other living beings, could transform the way the world functions. As compassion is now defined by politicians, compassion is selfishness and hatred masked. Politicians are using the facade of compassion to hide what they are really feeling, thinking and doing. They are making life better for themselves and their campaign contributors, while at the same time disregarding the health and well-being of workers, parents and children.

The latest strategy of politicians is to put pressure on teachers, parents and students by requiring national standardized testing. I have one simple question to ask. Why does every child need to be the same? When in fact, it is this overuse of testing that has already destroyed the mental lives of millions of children. Testing does this by making those who don't do well in tests feel like failures. It causes them great harm by inflicting on them unnecessary mental pain which leads to depression. It is in this way that we create future clients for the criminal justice system, and occupants of commercialized prisons.

Pharmaceutical companies continue to create new mental diseases out of normal everyday feelings. For example, anxiety (or mental pain) and depression, which are feelings experienced by every human being, are now being labeled through commercial TV advertising as mental diseases that need to be treated by drugs. I do not believe that anxiety (mental pain) or depression are mental diseases. What are they? They are feelings which give us feed back about our lives, the conditions of our relationships and the pressures placed upon us by the society. In laymans terms, maybe we feel this way because society makes us feel this way.

I am not against the use of drugs for emotional difficulties. I have a problem with pharmaceutical companies using advertising to sell their drugs. I feel that it is something that should be kept between the doctor and patient. Advertising is a powerful medium that in my opinion is being misused.

I noticed recently that the Paroxetine commercial has a disclaimer on it that it did not have before. It reads, "Anxiety caused by everyday stresses usually does not require medication." That helps, but I believe that all drug advertising should be eliminated from TV.

When a child becomes depressed in school, they are labeled as Attention-Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) and prescribed Fluoxetine. When they are anxious, they are labeled as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D). They are prescribed Methylphenidate. Drugging children may have some short term benefits, but it is not a long-term solution.

The reason children are depressed and anxious is because the educational system is trying to make them conform to a single standard, as if every human being were the same. Children are not the same physically, emotionally or intellectually. Education must be designed so that it conforms to the needs of each student, because it is an unrealistic dream to think that all children are the same. It is my belief that such an education system would remove the need to drug students.

Quoting the Black Alliance for Educational Options, "On November 13, 2001, the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) and the Manhattan Institute released a groundbreaking new report titled, Graduation Rates in the United States. The report shows that more than a quarter of all American public school students from the class of 1998 failed to graduate from high school. Even more troubling, the report shows that almost half of all African-American and Latino students drop out, compared with smaller percentages of white students in communities across the country."

The educational system is a failure, and our society is in denial about it. Educators continue to be apathetic to their students emotional needs. Teachers are not in charge of their own profession. Did you know that in many States, teachers are not allowed by law to strike? Their unions are weak and ineffective in negotiating professional salaries. They allow politicians and school board members to treat them as if teaching is a third-class profession, not equal to doctors, lawyers, dentists or airline pilots. They accept a pay scale which is often less than that of laborers in the construction industry. Teachers passively allow politicians to make every decision for them, and they lack the courage to demand what is right for their students. This allows politicians to put themselves in a position, so that they can blame teachers as the education system continues to fail.

The business community, which now controls every politician through campaign contributions, and steers the course of every political decision, makes plans, sets goals and commits to actions based solely upon the criteria of profit. Such a narrow decision making process ignores every other human factor and criteria - including the feelings of children. It is bound to lead to mistakes, which have already ruined the lives of millions of adults. Decisions made by the business community continue to adversely affect children, parents, workers and the environment. They ignore the health and happiness of every worker they employ.

This brings me to my point. Emotional Literacy Education is the teaching of compassion to every child. It is the best hope for a better tomorrow for our children. If they could be trained in compassion, their generation might avoid the pain that we cause to each other everyday by our apathy. The short term strategies of both politicians and business executives have led us to where we are now. What we need are long-term strategies and goals that positively affect the health and happiness of our children and our children's children.

There are three groups for which the teaching of compassion can be of great benefit. They are parents, children and workers. These are the disenfranchised groups, which are being exploited by our current system. Children grow up to become workers and parents. As George Bailey said from Its a Wonderful Life, "They do most of the living and dying around here." For that reason alone, they deserve the happiness for which Thomas Jefferson declared as their right in The Declaration of Independence.

Additional Online Works by Mark Zimmerman
Format - Real Audio The Old Man of the Holy Mountain
Format - Text & Real Audio The Book that Changed My Life
Subtitle: The Making of The Old Man of the Holy Mountain

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