Whilst school feels like a century ago, there are often moments I think back to my school days and ponder upon the things I wish somebody had taught me when I was younger. There are plenty of skills, information and general pieces of knowledge that should be taught in schools that would save a lot of stress, heartache and embarrassment in our later years. Whilst our wise owl teachers probably did pass on some nuggets of advice throughout our school years, it was very unlikely that we actually listened or realised how important it was. If I could add self-awareness and life lessons to the curriculum, here’s what I would teach:
1. Failures are okay
So in school, a fail is a bad thing, sometimes even an awful thing that you get told is going to affect your life forever. Sure, qualifications are important to get you onto the next stepping stone in life, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all. It’s okay to fail a test, or not be able to score that goal. Making mistakes is the only genuine way to learn and the sooner you realise that, the better. Accepting your mistakes is something everybody should be taught to do from a young age and that as long as you learn from them, you are doing okay.
2. Don’t have regrets
Similar to accepting your mistakes, accepting them relates very closely to having regrets. Not having regrets makes your life a lot more guilt and stress-free. Accept your mistakes, know that everything you’ve done has taught you something and learn to not regret a single thing.
It’s such a cliché to say that everything happens for a reason, but it’s true. That argument you had with your best friend happened because it ended up making your relationship stronger, that boy who cheated on you happened because you needed to learn that you deserve better and that slice of pizza that you dropped happened because the universe just knew that if you ate that much cheese, your body wouldn’t thank you for it.
Understanding that regrets can tear you apart and not regretting anything is something everybody needs to learn and the sooner the better.
3. Your attitude and mindset can change your future
I’m a firm believer that having a positive attitude and a focused mindset can change your reality. If you’re always putting negative energy out into the world, you’re more than likely going to get negativity in return. So the same applies to positivity. The law of attraction is a real thing, and people need to learn about it before they get out into the real world.
4. Don’t compare yourself to others
In schools, we’re often pitted against one another and even if it’s not outwardly said, it’s implied by the tests and games and the fact that children are competitive. It should be a firm part of the curriculum to ensure that people aren’t comparing themselves to their peers – whether it comes to academic accomplishments, physical appearance or material objects. It’s naturally very easy to look at somebody else achieving something you wanted and feel the green-eyed monster appear, but it will only make you miserable, both short-term and long-term.
From a young age, we should all be conditioned to improve ourselves by being competitive with ourselves. Strive to be better than the person you were yesterday, not the person somebody else is portraying themselves to be.
5. Make memories
Days spent laughing in the sunshine with friends or evenings around the fire with your family at Christmas time are the things you will look back on when you’re older. Your younger years are the times that shape you the most, so if you make memories and cherish them – maybe even record them in photographs or a diary – your older you will thank you for it. Yes, you will probably cringe at your hairstyle or eye-shadow shade in the future, but creating memories and spending time with those you love is so important, and it’s something people should be taught in schools.
So, aside from taxes, getting a mortgage and other boring-but-necessary things that I actually strongly believe should be taught in schools, these are the more light-hearted self-awareness and improvement lessons that should be built into the curriculum for children and teenagers. There is nothing more important than knowing, understanding and appreciating yourself, and schools should make more of an effort to encourage these types of self-reflection and learning.
What do you think? Should schools teach more life lessons alongside the current academic knowledge we are forced to learn?