I just read an article in The Atlantic on the increase of anxiety disorders exhibited by students in schools. The National Institute of Mental Health sites that 8% of U.S. teens suffer from some type of diagnosed anxiety disorder. School counselors and nurses say this increase in anxiety stems from increased amounts of stress and pressure put on students to achieve and get into the best colleges. They also site social media and technology causing kids to be rushed and pressured—in other words, information overload.
I overheard a conversation the other day between a man and a young boy of about 11. They were talking about how the boy was doing in school. The man told the boy that the school in which he taught was beginning AP courses in sixth grade so that the students would be ready for college. I almost fell off my chair—what are we thinking when we start applying pressure about college six years before it can actually happen. I am all for challenging students to reach their potential, but I am also for developing well rounded, mentally healthy children.
As Lutheran educators we believe that God has graced us each with special gifts and talents. I do hope that we never lose sight of our job to help students discover, embrace and utilize those talents to the best of their abilities and with a sense of joy in their hearts!