Students confront problems everyday. Some are small like how to study for an exam or get a ride to school, and some large like how to support their friends who are in unhealthy relationships. All of these problems involve the choice of whether to intervene or do nothing and let the situation play itself out. Each choice is hard and leads to consequences.
School is often the first place where students occupy positions of authority where they are able to direct the efforts of others. Being a good leader and having influence are highly valued. The challenge is figuring out the best way to do it. Some think it’s all about having power and expecting others to obey it. Others lead by moral example. Leadership lessons cultivated at young ages carry into adulthood and form the basis for how to treat other people.
Students are in the midst of figuring out who they are and how they can influence the world. Some feel helpless because it seems that they were born into a difficult situation or have experienced an unfair share of pain and heartache. Others feel almost superhuman and think they have the power to change anything they want. And for so many others, the truth of one’s power of self-determination is unclear and revealed slowly, over time and experiences.
Success, students are told, comes from doing well in school, building friendships and finding the right career. The only problem is they aren’t told exactly how to find this success and whether actually loving what they do should even be a consideration. As a result, it’s important for students to develop a self-awareness around what success means to them and how they plan to get it.
Anger is an emotion that all of us have to manage throughout our lives. Students get angry with their teachers, their friends and parents. It’s important for them to develop a self-awareness around their anger so that they can decide when getting angry, or remaining calm, is the right response to a situation which aggrieves them.
The Coronavirus outbreak of 2020 has driven society into isolation. Schools are closed. Businesses are shut down. Our social lives have stopped functioning. And we’re at home with much more alone time. Isolation can breed some sadness and despair but also offers a chance for us to reflect and evaluate our lives in a positive and meaningful way.
Life throws unexpected events at us which take us by surprise. When crisis happens, we feel out of control. We are left to react in the best ways we can to protect ourselves and improve our situations, but we often feel like our actions don’t matter in the face of an indifferent world.
When students interact with others, they have lots of moral decisions to make. It’s hard for them to decide exactly how to treat other people, especially strangers, since many times they don’t have much information to go on and so they must rely on their intuitive judgements and best guesses. How they decide to act reflects deeply upon their characters.
Money, influence, friends and good grades– students think that more is better. The whole idea of cutting back on desire isn’t very attractive. Yet, we can’t have it all and so now and throughout life, students must make smart choices on what they want and how much.
Students have very strong opinions about when to talk and when to remain silent. Sometimes, students speak out of nervousness. Other times, students speak because they have something they have to say to the world. Then there are other students who are shy and never want to talk, or who remain silent because they are afraid to look foolish.
Some students are dreamers who live comfortably thinking about a world not yet created. Then there are the ‘down to earth’ students who find comfort in facts. Often, these two groups clash during group projects when there’s a need for a clear vision of an end goal but then also a clear, step-by-step plan to get it done.