Increasingly, it seems that we as educators are encountering students with higher levels of anxiety, depression, suicide ideation, and overall fragility. Given these increases in mental health conditions across the Commonwealth and the nation, NPR did a segment regarding the issue this past week. The NPR guests were Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt who wrote the book, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation For Failure. Greg and Jon were so inspiring, I had to read the book. As you prepare for the long weekend, I thought I would share with you one of Greg and Jon’s topics; the principle of social psychology. Essentially, according to Greg and Jon, social psychology means, the more you separate people and point out differences among them, the more divided and less trusting they will become. Conversely, the more you emphasize common goals and interests, shared fate, and common humanity, the more they will see one another as fellow human beings, treat one another well, and come to appreciate one another’s contributions to the community. Pauli Murray expressed the power of this principle when she wrote, “When my brothers try to draw a circle to exclude me, I draw a larger circle to include them.” Educators, staff, and administrators can all play an important role in “widening the circle” for all kids! I am proud to say that I have observed many examples of “widening the circle” at LMMHS and Morris during recent classroom visits and I look forward to seeing many more. I can only hope that our nation and our world can “widen their circles” moving forward as well.
Thank you for all that you do! Have a wonderful long weekend!
P. Murray, Common Ground (1945)