Have you ever been depressed in your life? I guess we have all had our challenging moments when the world seemed to cave in. Over time, we learnt how to face such setbacks. Barack Obama beautifully outlines one such moment in his autobiography “Dreams from my Father.” There is a lot of emphasis on academics and sports in schools. Is there any thought given to helping children and adolescents to grapple with the perplexing emotional and social challenges that they sometimes need to confront? Many youth suicides and depressing phases in children/adolescents can be averted with the right kind of education to the child and the adolescent. This is where life skill education can play a great role in alleviating such trying moments in a child/adolescent. Life skills are the abilities which enable the individual to effectively deal in a positive and adaptive manner to the challenges of everyday life as per the World Health Organization.
The World Health Organization has endorsed such education as a key factor to improve the quality of life of youngsters. Countries all over the world have started incorporating life skills in their education system with at least one hour per week allotted to it. Trained educators have been appointed to facilitate activities to improve students’ emotional and social skills.
Emotions can be moderated and a balanced emotional state can be maintained only when the student is well aware of the emotions going through him/her. The building up of self-awareness is a crucial aspect of life skill education. Reflective exercises and the maintenance of a personal diary which serve as a healthy channel for the pouring out of emotions in the sometimes fragile psyche of an adolescent makes the journey into adulthood a little smoother. Empathy is another component that needs to be covered extensively. It is the ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes and look at the world through the lenses of another person. Group discussions, debates and team activities can be incorporated to enhance the level of empathy along with field trips as a volunteer to hospitals, orphanages, old-age homes, etc. Yoga and meditation may also be taught as part of life skill education. The overall character of the adolescent is enhanced in this way. Well-rounded individuals ready to step into the adult world and embrace its complexities with their feet grounded on firm soil will emerge due to an increased focus on emotional and social skill building. These individuals will be better equipped to cope with the growing challenges of modern life with a sense of balance and poise.