I’ve mentioned before that every Wednesday night I have a small group (composed mostly of seniors) that meets at my house. With this particular group, we’ve met for the past three years. And each year, there seems to be increased levels of stress associated with the daily tasks of adolescence. A majority of my senior high youth sleep only several hours a night, spending tons of time on homework and AP classes (not to mention the extra-curricular activities that are needed to be accepted into the “top” schools). Their stress levels are out of this world. It’s clear that only so many activities and responsibilities can be crammed into one day.
So, I wasn’t too surprised yesterday when the NY Times came out with this article. The title of the article, “Less Homework, More Yoga, From A Principal Who Hates Stress,” says it all. Paul Richards takes initiative in lowering the stress levels of his students. He mandates home-work free weekends and yoga classes for all seniors. Furthermore, Richards formed a stress reduction committee and stopped publishing the honor roll in the local newspaper as a means of reducing competition, stress, and cheating among students.
I wonder what the reaction would be if our local school board took similar actions? And, what is the role of all of this in youth ministry? What is the relationship between education and ministry? Education and competition? Not to mention self care and spirituality?