Scott Schimmel 0:20
One of the things that matters most to me and certainly for The YouSchool is the current, we call it a crisis of mental health for kids these days. It's not uncommon for me to have conversations with school leaders, counselors, parents about kids and their mental health. And on the other side, what I'm trying to connect the dots to are the conversations that I have with with kids- my own kids, other students- around what their life is like. And what I hear so often, I think is, and you could probably relate to this as well. There's either a kid that's too busy, or a kid that's too bored. And I just wonder about the connections between mental health and those two dynamics being too busy and too bored. And I just want to focus on the too bored one on this really short episode. Because this episode is in the context of a larger conversation around how to help kids thrive and thriving into their adult years. And there's different ways to describe that thriving. But the way we've chosen to do that is to talk about this idea of building a meaningful life. And a meaningful life, of course, includes being self-sufficient, being able to pay your bills and being successful. But it's also much bigger than that. It's, it's somebody that understands their identity and who they are and what matters to them. It's somebody that has deep relationships, and a sense of community and togetherness and belonging. And it's also somebody who would say that the world needs me, I have something to contribute. And that's what I want to kind of zero in on- mental health, kids who say they're bored, and this concept of meaning. There's this profound book, you've probably read it or claimed that you did. If you haven't yet, you should. It's short. It's called Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl who was a part of World War II, psychotherapist, who wrote this book years later, around his experiences, not just in as a therapist and as a researcher, but also his own personal experiences of being in concentration camps, a prisoner. And what he wrote was this really short book on this idea of Man's Search for Meaning. And there's some fantastic ideas that are actually really simple. And he says this, "Man's search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life." When he says man, he means people, okay? So don't don't send me an email about that. "Man's search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life." And a meaningful life, he says, doesn't come from comfort, doesn't come from escape, doesn't come from being stable or secure, doesn't come from having a lot of control over your life. A meaningful life doesn't come from vacations. It comes from tension. He says this, what man actually needs is not a tensionless state where you might, you know, hear, hear, hear in the pause there. hear people's desire for a tensionless state. I hear people saying, I can't wait for the weekend. I hear kids saying school is so boring. I can't wait to go home. School is so boring. I can't wait for Friday. School's so boring, I can't wait for the break, the summer, graduating. And there's tension. Sure, there is stress. Absolutely. Kids who have to go from AP chemistry to precalculus to English to band, like that there is stress there. But it's a relatively tensionless estate. Do what you're expected to do, get it done on time, so that you can get to the next part. What I think is missing, and here's what Viktor Frankl says what man actually needs is not a tensionless state, but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. And he says that the foundation for mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, not relief from tension. But the tension that between what one already has achieved and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gap between what one is and what what one should become. Here's how we're going to ground this. I believe that kids need to hear the message that the world needs them to contribute. There are problems for them to solve. In the current context of school and going to school and doing what you're supposed to do and getting the grades and the GPA and doing the activities after school is a means towards becoming someone who has something to share, something to contribute, something of value that you've learned. But they need to hear that frequently. They don't have a lot of long term perspective. Teenagers, by and large are pretty, especially in their brain development, are pretty short-term, here-and-now oriented. We need to be the ones who remind them that the world needs them. There are problems that they uniquely can solve, based on their age, their perspective, who they are, the story of their life and what they've been through. And we need them, the world needs them, other people need them. That's why so many times there are students who get involved with sports or band or some sort of team, you see all their academics go up, I can't tell you how many times I've talked to coaches or athletic directors, or admin, assistant principals who talk about football team, for example, they'll have really good grades in the fall, and their grades crash in the spring. And vice versa. For the sports, that're in the spring, they really struggle in the fall, because there's something about being needed. I've got a role to play the spot on the team, I've got a position to cover, people need me to show up, people need me to put in the work, people need me to keep the GPA so that I can stay on the field or on the court. And that's really short lived. Being a part of the football team or the volleyball team or the band that is short lived, we need to help them see that there are bigger things, bigger problems, bigger teams, that they need to participate on. In other words, it's not about your comfort. It's also not about you. School today is not about you. School today, yeah, we want you to be healthy, we want you to have a balanced life, we want you to know how to manage stress and do breathing exercises, we want you to learn how to use your own voice, we want you to learn all that stuff. But actually, what you're doing now is training you to have value to contribute later on. So you're not moving from honors chemistry to precalc because you have to on one level, or because you need to get a certain GPA to get into the college that you want to go to. At some point, the knowledge and experiences you're getting now are going to matter for something bigger later on. So here's the message. You want to play this part for your students, for your kids,- Buck up, quit complaining, quit trying to live for the weekend, quit trying to escape the problems that you're going through, we need you, we need you to be changed and transformed. We need you to learn the stuff that you're being taught. We need you to dig in. Say yes to it. Surrender to what the world is like right now. Your world have classes and activities and sports and practices and homework and tests and projects and papers. We need you to do that part well, because it's forming you into somebody that's going to contribute to solving problems in your offices, in your communities, in your families and your neighborhoods, in this world. The world needs you. That's where meaningful life comes from- the leaning into that tension, not trying to escape it. So don't escape. Lean in. And that's the foundation not only for mental health, but for meaningful life. See you next week with another episode of The YouSchool podcast. Hey, thanks for joining in on The YouSchool podcast we'd love to share with you the resources available on our website at theyouschool.com. Not just articles, ebooks, worksheets and other podcast episodes. But specifically you should know about a free course we have available called The Real Me course. It's digital, it's interactive, and it will guide you to get clear about who you are in a great store you could tell with your life. So go register for a free account and get started on The Real Me course today at theyouschool.com. That's the you school dot com.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai