Editor’s note: This opinion piece includes references to suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7. It can be reached at (800) 273-8255.
We need to start teaching core values in high school, ninth through 12th grade. So many of us as teens dropped out of high school, started drugs and alcohol, ended up pregnant. Then, here we are 20 years later, trying to get clean and sober, while we’re dealing with all the pain and brokenness, we endured in the last 20 years. Only if then we could have done then what needs to be done right now.
We need to teach our children to love themselves. We need to teach them to truly find their true passion before graduating high school so they’re not floating around aimlessly. Our children need to learn the things us adults must learn and apply in our recovery. Teen suicide rates would drop. Bullying would no longer exist; our children will be built up with a strong heart and true sense of self to face the world.
I have been putting together an ideal curriculum that would be efficient for our youth. It’s everything we as adults use in our recovery daily. It needs to be taught throughout the four years of high school. Starting with open arms, acceptance, and unconditional love. Our youths need to learn this. And of course, so many more life skills that are needed to face the world when it’s time for children to go off to college. As parents we can be less worried about our children using substances or taking their own life. which obviously is a major problem we are dealing with at hand, as stated in the Juneau Empire Friday Dec. 10, 2021.
We can teach and help lead them by example.
We have such a long history of pain and destruction for generations and generations. The generational curse of hurt people hurting people, we know no other way due to our DNA templates. Time has come for us to come together and break that cycle. By starting with the youth and this community
We need to start healing our youth now with compassion, so then when they head off into the world, they are no longer broken hurting and lost. It’s time for us to rise. It’s time for us to be aware our children are hurting. When all they want is to feel wanted, valued, loved and accepted. It’s time to learn to love, be open and connect with our children. They need us! And I am here ready to create this new beginning.
No longer would our children be bullied, no longer will they turn to drugs and alcohol, no longer would they be in a state of darkness with thoughts of suicide. Because WE will bring them to the light and really grow to know who God deigned them to be and learn their true soul’s passion.
These are the things that should be taught in High School:
Life balance consisting of: spirituality, family, trust, support, social, health, school/work, positive creativity, development, communication, what healthy relationships are, how to build each other up not tear down.
Unconditional love and what that is. Self-respect, moral values, connectivity, health boundaries, identifying causes of lack in self-confidence and self-esteem and the difference between the two. Stages of grief, the flow of emotions and learning it’s OK to feel our emotions and guide our youth how to cope in healthier ways than running to drugs and or alcohol. Positive affirmations and building our youths self- esteem and confidence. Education on the effects of drugs and alcohol. Learning self-care and positivity. Teach our children to not seek validation through nude pictures and those things that follow. Character building is also very important. It makes us into the person we truly are and that person our youth become.
It’s time for change, and it’s happening right now.
• Jenelle L. Nelson is a lifelong resident of Juneau. She will celebrate four years of sobriety in May 2022. She also has a son who is student at JDHS.