Let's Not Leave Emotional Education Out of Our Schools

Teachers, next to parents, live with teen-agers more than do any other adults. Teachers along with parents bring to bear day-to-day influence. They have a great and grave and important part to play in the adolescent's development.

Because of this, teachers, just like parents, must take the emotional side of the young person's life into consideration with consistent awareness. Neither can leave it to be handled haphazardly as chance dictates.

Insight into how home and family influence the adolescent and how the roots of adolescent personality reach back into infancy and childhood--this should be part of every teacher's equipment. Knowledge of how the school can help the adolescent in his emotional development should similarly become every parent's concern.

For many long years our schools focused on "educating the mind." Their program had to do solely with intellectual education. As time passed, the child's body was brought into focus and a program of physical education was added. Now, at long last, we are recognizing that both intellectual and physical development are tremendously influenced by the emotions. The body can become ill and depleted and can fail to function properly because of emotional undercurrents. So can the mind. Difficulties in concentration, in absorption, in reasoning can occur, as we know, as a result of emotional tensions, even to the extent that failure in school results.

Conversely, when emotions are accorded recognition and are taken into account, not only can failures be prevented but fair performance can be made good and good performance can be made better.

But this is not all.

Our world today is full of troubled children. A few have grown into Hitlers. Multitudes have grown into unhappy persons willing to follow any Hitler in the hope of a life that will be more complete.

Machines have been tended while men have gone wanting.

What a handful of psychiatrists, psychologists and other trained persons can do in terms of cure is infinitesimal. What a widespread program of "emotional education" might do in terms of prevention is boundless.

If this problem is left in the hands of uninterested politicians, the schools won't do it. But if parents and school people could join hands more firmly in knowing about and insisting on a program of real emotional education, then home and school together might become one of the world's greatest forces. More powerful than armies. For together they would help the young people who are the world's future, put warring and warfare into proper proportion and turn their energies more fruitfully into the creation of peace.

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