Celebrating Teachers and Raising Awareness of Mental Wellness
By Scarlett Lewis
Educators are modern day superheroes! As parents, we give our most precious asset, our children, to these individuals and ask them to help shape and mold them into the human beings they will become. There is no more important job on this planet. Every day should be a celebration of the essential role teachers play in the lives of our children to guide them on their path to flourishing.
Teachers, we salute you, especially during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6. We celebrated educators, counselors and school staff on the latest leg of the continuing the Choose Love Bus Tour throughout the state of New Hampshire, sponsored by Governor Christopher Sununu. We had a gratitude station at every stop dedicated to the teachers and hundreds of students wrote letters of thanks to them and other staff. Hearing stories of educators, counselors, and administrators going above and beyond, portrayed in these heartwarming notes, filled my bucket!
May is also Mental Health Awareness Month which seems a perfect combination with Teacher Appreciation Week. You can’t acknowledge one without the other. For too long we saw our schools solely as a place for academics. Now, with a burgeoning mental health crisis, we are relying on our educators more and more to help our children navigate challenges both in and out of the classroom. As outlined by the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in his latest public health advisory, the mental health crisis of our youth is a major issue facing our educators in classrooms today. In speaking with teachers and visiting classrooms across the country throughout the pandemic, I have heard heartbreaking stories shared by our kids of all that they have been enduring. Educators must teach while addressing these increasing mental health struggles.
There are positive barometers of our children’s mental health and these can be cultivated by educators. According to the CDC some of these indicators include the ability to show affection, resilience, positivity, and curiosity in children ages 3-5 years old. Signs of mental health and wellness in kids up to age 17 include curiosity, persistence, and self-control. These personal strengths are taught, reinforced, and practiced within the lessons in our Choose Love for Schools program.
It is important to foster mental health and wellness in our children from an early age. Teaching essential life skills such as the Choose Love Formula, that encompasses Courage + Gratitude + Forgiveness + Compassion-in-Action, and empowering them with how to have healthy relationships, emotional management, and responsible decision-making, gives our children the ability to make healthy choices in their thoughts and actions which in turn creates a healthy Choose Love Lifestyle. This is the blueprint for flourishing.
Educators lay the building blocks for the formation of our children’s hopes and dreams. Providing children with essential life skills and coping mechanisms can help prevent anxiety and some mental illnesses. The Choose Love Movement was founded in love and support of our educators and it quickly spread worldwide. Our message has grown from schools, to homes, to communities across the U.S. to include governmental agencies, including health and human services, police departments and first responders, foster care, at-risk youth, residential services, and our prison system. Our programming solutions are free of cost so we can help everyone flourish and live better lives.
Let’s all work together to take back the health and well-being of ourselves and our children and create the world we want to live in that is safe and happy, and where we can, “Have a Lot of fun!”