Should They Teach Meditation in Schools?
High school: it can be the best, but also the most stressful time in your life (although college can be better, but more stressful). Can there be a way to end the whole "stressful" part? Students today have to deal with school, tests, homework, clubs, sports, preparing for college, drama (eww), and countless other responsibilities-I know, I was a high school student just over a year ago. So what can be done to lower the stress levels (hint: its in the title)?
If you guessed meditation, YOU ARE CORRECT! Meditation helps calm the body and mind, and can reduce stress levels, so why not teach it in school? Let's list some reasons why they should, along with obstacles that need to be overcome to incorporate it in to any school curriculum.
Students need relaxation time
School's tough, and you never have time to relax during it. You were always worried about getting your homework done, preparing for the next test, or nervous about your oral presentation coming up. When I was in high school, and even now in college, I never had time to relax during the school day. If an opportunity came up, it was to get a head start on homework, or study for the next calculus test. The problem was that there was never a time set a side for just relaxation. Study halls were about homework, and lunch was about quickly eating your meal in the 20 minute period after spending 17 minutes in line. The bus ride home has a bunch of noisy elementary school kids jumping around. I don't know about you, but if my school offered a meditation session, I would do it in a heart beat to escape it all, even for a little while.
Couldn't nap time work?
I remember hearing my fellow students in high school saying "I wish our school had nap time." In high school, I would have loved a nap time, but here could be a few potential problems with just napping at school. Your brain does not stop working just because you are asleep. It is still working, thinking, worrying about the oral presentation on the Hubble Telescope. The other problem with nap time is that schools usually can only offer an extra 20 minutes or so for a relaxation time. I don't know about you, but I can't fall asleep in 20 minutes, and even if I did, it would not be enough for me. I would wake up being MORE miserable than I was when i fell asleep. With meditation, however, your mind does relax, along with your body; plus 20 minutes is usually enough time to de-stress, recharge, and get ready to finish off the school day!
SOUNDS GREAT! Who's paying?
Ahh, yes, the problem for most things: Price! Think about it, if a school added a 20 minute meditation session, its an extra 20 minutes of electricity, and wages for any hourly employees. Plus, the school probably needs to bring in someone to actually teach the meditation, what can be done?
Although I can't think of an idea to get over the extra 20 minutes in electricity or wages (other than shutting down the power for 20 minutes), I might be able to help with the finding a teacher problem. Out of everyone in a school, there must be someone who is willing to teach the students in meditation. It could be a student, a teacher, or a volunteer. Someone will be willing to teacher a simple meditation to the students for free, they just need to do a little bit of preparation. Plus, a teacher is probably only necessary the first few days, to teach the basics of meditation. Once the students learn how to do it for themselves, there's no need to teach them anymore.
Then there's the problem of getting enough cushions for everyone. Actually, this doesn't have to be a problem. Students can meditate right in their desks, sitting down, in their chairs. You do not have to sit cross-legged, on the floor to meditate.
But isn't meditation religious?
Another problem is that many parents believe the misconception that is: Meditation is strictly religious. With separation of church and state, that means no religious things are allowed in public schools. Yes, meditation can be used in religion, but it is not strictly religious. Anyone can learn and practice meditation regardless of religion. Now some parents think that meditation is against their religion. Most, if not all, religions have some form of meditation built in; whether its prayer, or actual meditation. So, yeah, meditation can be religious, but it does not have to be inside a school. And if students really do not want to participate, the school can make it optional.
If 15-20 minutes was put aside each day to allow students to meditate, it could recharge their bodies, calm them down over the impending advanced algebra trig. test, get rid of test anxiety, make the students calmer, and could reduce bullying. Although it would be hard for schools to start up a meditation period, it would probably be worth it in the end. I used meditation after I got home from school, and it helps recharge after a long day of school. But if I had a session during school, it would have made the school day more enjoyable, and less tiring. Some schools already introduced meditation, and have seen great results.
Yes, there will be obstacles, yes it will be hard getting it started, but once it is started, it would be worth it.
So what do you think, should there be meditation introduced in schools? Comments are always welcome :)