The TED talk video titled “Hackschooling Makes me Happy” literally sent chills down my spine. I am so impressed with this young man, Logan LaPlante, for many reasons. First, he did was a lot of adults (myself included) find impossible to do- speaking in front of an audience. I am 30 years old and there is no way I could have done what he did, even if the auditorium was empty. Second, he brought up so many good points about the importance of innovating our education system. I have my own children, 3 of whom are in the public school system. Two are in elementary school and one is in middle school. A conversation that we have a few times a year is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” My boys usually want to be pro soccer of football players, or occasionally to join the army. My daughter wants to be a veterinarian as she loves animals. She is 6. One of the points Logan made is that kids want to be what they’re familiar with. My boys play soccer and football so that’s what they’re familiar with. They have never said they want to be lawyers, doctors, or accountants. I have always told them that they can be whatever they want to be, they can do whatever they desire as long as they work hard to achieve it. Nothing is out of reach.
My view on this conversation will be forever changed after watching this video. I want them to be happy, healthy and to always feel safe. As Logan stated, when we as adults ask children this question we automatically assume that when they grow up they will be happy, healthy and safe. This isn’t always a given. Many adults in my life may only be one third of that, and not even all the time. So, how do we, as educators and future educators, teach our children/students to be happy? There are 8 “Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes”(TLC’s) that are recommended to accomplish being happy. These include:
Diet and nutrition
Time in nature
Contribution and service
Relaxation and stress management
Religious and spiritual
Having worked in our school district and having my own children attend, it helps because I can see in what ways they provide and nourish some of these TLC’s. I know that my children get plenty of recess time and they also go to PE class at least twice a week. This fulfills the exercise. They are also provided one healthy snack a day (a fresh fruit or veggie) and are given somewhat healthy options at lunch (a salad bar that consists of more fresh fruits and veggies). This could partially fulfil the diet and nutrition, I think they could spend more time educating them how to eat healthy. The contribution and service is met only once per year, and that’s on Earth Day. They take the students out to pick up trash. Recreation could be fulfilled with the sports and activities that are offered to the 6-12 grade students, but since these are extracurricular they only meet the need for a small amount of the kids. Relaxation and stress management and religious and spiritual go unfulfilled. I’m still trying to think of ways that the school could incorporate these, but the religious one would be extremely difficult.
I can see how these 8 TLC’s are important to making sure our children grow up to be happy. Integrating all of these into our education system would have a huge positive impact and could also help nourish their creativity. I want my children and my future students to grow to be adults who “make a life” instead of “making a living.” Too many adults struggle every day because they have to make a living. They work jobs that they’re miserable in, and they remain unhappy just to get by. If we teach our children to learn to be happy first then they will learn how to make a life, how to enjoy life, and what really matters and makes them happy.