A few coaching conversations recently inspired me to finally get this out of my system. Damn it feels good.
When I wrote a personal development book called Reach Your Stars! in January of 2000 – and then presented it in seminar format to thousands of school kids and teachers – I was motivated and ON FIRE because I had spent the previous 10 years studying PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT courses that were regularly delivered to the top CEOs in the USA. There were constantly long waiting lists of teachers who wanted me to bring Reach Your Stars! to their classrooms. WHY was I so driven?
- I could not for the life of me understand why that SAME EXACT PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION – which included HOW TO LEARN LIKE A BADASS – why it was not given to me in school. My grade school, middle school and high school experiences sucked big time and I WISHED I had been given that key information way back in kindergarten. It has more practical value than my Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Counseling combined.
- I wanted to spare new generations of children and teachers – whom I both adore – the challenges, hardships and HEARTBREAKS that I experienced.
What I naively did NOT know at the time was that the leaders who were running the entire educational system had a whole other agenda in mind.
- To condition kids to follow, not lead
- To train their minds to stay small and not believe in their true potential
- To use shame to get them to either fit in or suck it up
When kids don’t fit in
- they often BLAME themselves for their bad grades and/or feeling like misfits/losers
- parents BLAME their kids for being inattentive, stupid or WHATEVER. Please correct your misinformation. The system is STUPID, BAD and DISABLED – not your kids!
After 9-11, I quit providing the Reach Your Stars! seminars on a regular basis because
- It seemed brutally obvious to me that what we REALLY needed in schools after 9-11 was workshops on TRAUMA and GRIEF, not “Reach Your Stars!“
- I felt unqualified to provide workshops on Trauma and Grief, PTSD and CPTSD.
- I was flooded by my own emotional flashbacks due to COMPLEX PTSD but had no idea that that was happening or what that was or how to get BACK into my body. I kept dissociating. My energy got scattered.
- My main corporate sponsor was JP Morgan, a New York bank that was directly affected by the blows to the towers and I felt their money should be used for their emergencies. They had already given me a few thousand and were so happy with my results that they promised me $100,000.00 my job was to fill out the paperwork so I could receive it. I watched the towers falling in the middle of typing the forms. I never turned them in.
Well I’m back now and I’m angry as fuck that 20 years later, our USA schools are still torturing our children by delivering brutal, barbaric and archaic teaching methods which generate TRAUMA.
I’ve HAD IT with seeing some of my closest friends who are teachers be disempowered and traumatized and stressed out by the system which gives them a TON of responsibility with very LITTLE authority.
Harvard mathematician Eric Weinstein says that kids aren’t dysfunctional, the educators are. I agree with this as well: “I HAVEN’T ACCEPTED THE GAME. I’VE REJECTED THE GAME.”
I LOVE the USA.
I LOVE children and education.
I AM Lady Liberty.
And I say ENOUGH. TIME’S UP. I’M REJECTING THE GAME. LOUDLY.
There are a TON of motivational speakers out there who started their careers from scratch for the same reason that I did. They are moved by the same words which they repeat at their workshops, too!
“WHY WASN’T I TAUGHT THIS WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL?”
We need to get louder than ever.
We need to make our voices heard.
We need to stand strong.
We need to unite.
Debbie Happy Cohen, founder of Joy-Based Living
ps. I have NOT been promoting Reach your Stars in recent years because one of the major teachings in it is POSITIVE ATTITUDE. This suggestion is healthy and valid for people who haven’t been traumatized. But people with PTSD and CPTSD – WHICH IS EVERYONE IN EVERY SCHOOL THESE DAYS – need to learn how to overcome trauma first! Otherwise, the instruction to “just have a positive attitude” can actually trigger and exacerbate SHAME.
Learning to address CPTSD can be as “simple” as learning CPR. You can learn the main ideas it in a couple of hours and you can apply the principles to your own life IMMEDIATELY, as well as offer it to people you love. You will then be equipped to find professionals to help you through if you need that.
Plus, just like with CPR, EVERYONE should know these skills… students and teachers, administrators, etc. You can read my book SANCTUARY if you want to get a feel for healing emotional trauma.
It’s free for now, right here at www.joybasedliving.com
If this post resonated with you, these will, too:
Factoid: October 10 is World Mental Health Day
And one more resource for you from Gandhi’s grandson, Arun. The Gift of Anger is a book he wrote, inspired by lessons from his grandfather.