My father and I were recently hashing out the recent epidemic of high school kids who are apparently losing their minds at school--that is, cracking under the pressure and completely snapping at school; pumping teachers full of lead and whatnot. Now, we don't particularly condone such behaviour, but both of us agree that every single "solution" to this problem we've seen proposed has been ass-backwards and designed, it seems, to do nothing but exacerbate the problem.

Now, because my father is among the smartest people on the planet and has been a teacher--though in college, not high school--I thought I would node his theory--or one of them--here, for the Everything public to peruse.
He claims, after fifty years of existence, that kids haven't really changed at all. Thirty-five years ago, when he was in high school, they still hated it. The only real difference was this: Back then, high school was it. After you finished high school, you were done. You got out, you got a job, you got married, you had kids. After high school, you quit school and began living. So the vast majority of fed-up 16-year-olds just stuffed their rage in a back pocket for two years, because soon it would be over anyway.

Of course, that's not the case today. By the time we hit 16, we've already been in school for a good eleven or twelve years, and people are already hounding us about where we'll go to school NEXT. You're not even close to done after high school; in fact, if you don't get at least another 4 years in, you're going to be laughed at, seriously limited for jobs and money, or both. So, in essence, we put our kids through at MINIMUM 20 straight years of school, and then get shocked when they crack around year 14 or so.

I don't know if this theory poses a solution at all. I do know that, in my family, we were encouraged to take a year or two off between high school and college; hell, my dad even encouraged me to drop out of college after 2 years and take another break. I mean, we do know that high stress takes a serious toll on people, probably children more so. And perhaps we're stressing education a little too much? It's deadly important and all, but isn't having fun when you're a kid important too? Isn't taking a break and doing something different once in a while rather fundamental to growing up right? Maybe more parents should take their children out of school for a year here and there, to travel, visit family, or just hang around and do something ELSE for a while.

It's just a thought.

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