To avoid getting overly dramatic and go off on a tangent about the education system in America today, I wanted to list five things that I feel should be taught in much greater detail in schools. These are things that I’ve struggled with myself, or have recently encountered in real life and thought, “Gee, I wish they had taught me that in school.” Hopefully it is not too political or rant-y.

Primary School

    • Nutrition – After many episodes of Biggest Loser: Challenge America this winter, I really believe that nutrition needs to play a much more central role in early education. Forming life long habits of healthy eating early on, while parents are still engaged in their child’s education, would go a long way to combat the rampant obesity problem in children. Last nights episode had a brief cut to a young girl who lost hundreds of pounds after her mom decided she needed to help get her daughter healthy. That got me to thinking that things really do need to change.I imagine weekly sessions that cover the basics of making healthy decisions, how to navigate the grocery store and how to stay away from some of the bad foods that people fall into. If kids got excited about what they eat, maybe that would translate into parents making better decisions about what they give their children too.
    • Fitness – I know physical education is mandatory in most districts, but from my own experience, it was pretty lack luster. I understand kids have all different levels of motivation, and ability, but hook them into real workouts early on and establish that routine. I’d say in general, earlier phys-ed is actually better than high-school phys-ed, where most kids just stand around while 2 on 2 games between “athletes” are occurring. Then again, I always signed up for co-ed volleyball gym class… so maybe that was my own personal choice.

Middle / High School

    • Time Management – This is obviously a bit more difficult, and in a way it is taught to some extent. A lot of real life is budgeting your time more effectively to accomplish everything you set out to do. With all of the modern-day distractions, it is easy to sacrifice things that are important like cooking a healthy meal, or getting a good workout in. Loading kids up with homework at night and making extracurriculars basically mandatory for college admission doesn’t teach kids that slowing down and taking care of themselves is important too.

College

    • Finances – I really believe that no college student should be able to graduate without at least one or two full semester classes in personal finances. I’m talking about Credit cards, bank accounts, loan consolidation, car buying, home ownership, retirement planing and health care systems. I understand that the systems in place vary dramatically, but to me it is extremely obvious why so many people struggle with credit card and other forms of debt. Unless you enjoy reading hundreds of pages of financial gibberish, most contracts make zero sense.
    • Advanced Nutrition – I bring this point up again, because although those values were hopefully instilled early on in a child’s life, now that people are independent adults they are responsible for making their own health decisions. Lately I’ve seen so many people flaming the mayor of New York City for trying to ban large bottles of Soda, which is probably one of the most horrific things to put in your body in its own right, claiming they want the freedom to buy what they want. — Really, if people were educated on how bad these foods really are, maybe they wouldn’t NEED the government encroaching on their liberties in an attempt to prevent them from becoming self-inflicted long-term liabilities to our already fragile and strained health care system. Honestly, I am a major proponent for letting people live their lives however they choose, but people need a strong education to make good decisions. Adults need to be taught just like kids what is healthy and what is not. Even more importantly, adults have the added responsibility of feeding their own kids who in all actuality have very little control of what food is available to eat.

I really believe that the key to most of our societal ailments lies in education and conversation. With a little bit of focus on real-life issues in school, a bit beyond what they currently teach, I think a lot of change could occur for the better. Anyways, back to figuring out this stack of paperwork on health-care benefits and retirement plans . . . I wish I took a class for this.