Article by Manfred Kramer, February 12, 2011
Nowadays, many new challenges pose new problems for young and old, causing increased stress levels. Our children are especially fulnerable to stress since they are only starting out in life and have not quite yet learned how to cope with it. Also, by nature their amount of work only increases as they advance in school.
Economical markets have expanded to a global economy with increased demands for competitive job markets. This reflects again in the school system’s curriculum. Children study and learn much more technical things than their parents did.
Consequently, many times the demands on our children are high which reflect in added homework. Many students complain over the amount of homework they receive from teachers that think their subject is more important then that of other teachers.
“As I go on to higher grades, my homework increases and gets more difficult. Finishing it takes a long time,” says one 15 year old student in Japan. “I have many other things that I want to do, but the homework must be turned in the next day. I sometimes feel panicky.”
Regarding the homework she receives, a 14 year old in Russia writes: “Completing my homework has become more difficult. Every year I have more subjects to study and the teachers assign much more material. Also, each teacher considers his subject to be more important than the rest. It is hard to find a balance and get it all done.”
18 year old Gilberto writes: “Teachers say that they want to prepare us for the highly competitive job market.”
It is true, that school should prepare our children for the pressures of later life; however, if unchecked, it can result in many problems and ailments. A constant high level of stress can lead to stomach ailments and headaches. As constant fatigue weakens their immune system, they may fall sick. Then the fast pace comes to a crawl and they may have quite a struggle to regain their strength. Nothing is gained.
An additional reason for stress can be hard-pushing parents as well as students driven by the inordinate pursuit of wealth. The parents often push their children for higher education, supposedly so they can get more prestigous jobs to be able to enjoy life at much higher incomes. However, many times these goals are never reached.
In her book The Price of Privilege, psychologist Madeline Levine wrote of “the fact that money, education, power, prestige, and material goods offer no protection against unhappiness or emotional illness.” Pope, cited earlier, made this observation: “I see so many kids and parents striving for perfection—according to a flawed definition of success.” And she added: “We should be striving to be healthy—mentally and physically and spiritually.”
Some things in life are far more important than money. These include emotional and physical well-being and a good conscience. Good friends contribute vastly to a balanced life. With them, we can practice giving and receiving adding joy to life.
Having said that, what can children as well as parents do to alleviate the stress they may find at school and at home?
Here are some practical suggestions:
- Parents: Are you expecting too much from your children? Do demand perfection in their performance as students? Reasonableness and emotional support will go long ways in reducing stress of the child.
- Students: Do you procrastinate habitually? Try working on completing tasks ahead of time. Make it a habit, once you touched and looked through an assignment, go ahead and complete it right there and then. Do not put it aside until you are finished. Many times this will cut the time spent on homework considerably.
- Do you daydream during classes? Try this for a month and see how this works for you: Pay apt attention during classes and make short notes. You will be surprised on how much faster you will be able to complete your homework.
- Do you spend a lot of time sorting through papers and notebooks? Try to develop a system of placing and sorting your assignments. Get organized in your homework. Make a schedule before you start homework at all. This will help you to set goals and reach them before you move on to more difficult subjects. You could also go to your teachers and ask for advice in this regard.
- Have you selected classes that increase the pace of your schooling but that require much more time and effort? Is it vital that you take those classes? Speak with your parents. Get the opinion of someone with a reasonable view of education. You may find that those optional courses add little to your progress toward graduation.
- Do you make sure you have enough rest to regenerate? Many times, students spend too much time with unproductive technological gadgets that contribute very little to their relaxation and are in reality harmful to their mind. Set a time limit on how much you use these gadgets each day or week. The same goes for the watching of television.
Even though we usually derive great joy after hard work, always remember: there are other important things in life that can enrich our well-being and ensure a balanced life. The inordinate pursuit of money should not overwhelm us in a way that could hamper our spirituality or even physical health.
I sincerely hope this article has helped you in your situation as a student. I am always welcoming suggestions in this regard as well as in reducing stress in anyone’s life.
Stress-free Living Ahoi,
Word of the day:
‘Pecunia non satiat avaritiam, sed inritat’
Money does not satisfy greed; it stimulates it.