Friday, September 14, 2007

Life skills can prevent death

Earlier today while tidying up some stuff I came across a list that I vaguely remember copying down quite a while ago with the intent of writing about them. The list is entitled Life Skills (sorry I'm not sure who to cite, all I have is a list on a small piece of paper):
Problem solving
Conflict resolution
Understanding/Managing emotions
Tolerance of others
Working in teams

Looking at them today I do think that they are critical life skills needed to become a mature, functioning member of our society (most societies that I know about). If we could inculcate these into all members of our communities we could go a long way to solving our problems with violence, as well as other problems that lead to preventable deaths in our community. I intentionally used the fancy word “inculcate” because it communicates the essence of how I think this “stuff” must be taught (inculcate = to impress on the mind by frequent repetition or instruction).

Problem solving without resorting to drugs, managing emotions so that they neither flare toward others or consume from within, working together to address problems and work toward solutions.

Kids need to be taught these skills at home, but they must also be taught and reinforced in the community in general by lesson and example. It must be a part of what is taught in schools, both subtly in literature selection and more obviously in things like social studies. It must be “taught” in the work place, by doing. It must be shown by example on TV, in other media, and in everyone’s day-to-day actions and interactions.

What a way to buff up society and grow community members with functional life skills. What a way to impact violence and the death and mayhem that results from it. What a great way (yes, rather grandiose, although we can start with a few) to forestall death.


Anonymous said...

"Problem solving without resorting to drugs..."

I'm wondering what problems you believe should be solved without resorting to drugs - rheumatoid arthritis? Diabetes? The sort of depression that leads to suicide? I'm a devoted reader of your blog, but this seemingly offhand remark caught my eye, and piqued my curiosity.

Dr. Richard Keller said...

My intent with that phrase was to mean that folks must learn to address and solve social and personal problems without resorting to drugs (illicit or illicitly-used licit drugs) as social lubricants, social anesthetics, or self-medication.

Thanks for the question and the opportunity to clarify my statement.