What types of things are actually going to happen with any frequency in our student’s lives? Is there anything obvious for which we are not preparing them? I know a lot of current effort is being put into preparing students for events which are unlikely to happen, but what about the common things?

Here’s a list of things practically everyone will have happen in their lives.

  • Serious illness
  • A car accident
  • Death of a family member or close friend
  • Paying taxes 
  • Find a life partner

Here’s a list of things that will happen to a significant portion of people (25% or more) at some point in their lives.

I argue that schools actively work to discuss the issues in the second group much more than things in the first group. How many schools have a grief program? How many schools teach kids how and when to fill out their tax forms? What to do if you become seriously ill?

I think schools tend to leave these things which happen to practically everyone as a job for the family of the students to teach and then we cover these other activities which happen more than they should, but not to everyone. I’m not sure why we do that. One could easily argue that a serious illness is as difficult to deal with as anything on the second list, especially if that illness becomes chronic. Why don’t we talk about this in schools? I’m not saying that we need to have an exhaustive discussion of everything that could happen in life, but some preparation for the bigger events of life is pretty important in my opinion.

Some schools do talk about everything on this list. Some schools bring in grief counselors after a major incident related to the school community. Some schools teaching nothing on either lists, which I think should be criminal.

Our job is to prepare students for life. We can’t teach them absolutely everything they need to know or completely take over the job of parents to prepare their kids for life, but we should recognize that not every family has the same ability to talk about these important issues. We must claw back some of the time we spend preparing students for tests for the more important discussion of life.