In today’s Western society are we missing the point of education? We have more free education available for every individual than ever before, more choices in career than ever before, we are wealthier society in comparison to the rest of the world, so why is mental illness and loneliness on the increase at an epidemic level?
In the UK the government has
allocated a ministry to help the lonely in society.
When we peel back the layers to have
a look at why individuals are lonely and what makes a person happy it seems to
boil down to one thing – relationships.
The following extract from the American Psychological Association press release shows a summary of the contributing factors to the loneliness epidemic;
“Such “epidemics,” while not confined to rich countries, are linked to
prominent features of affluent culture: longer life expectancy, decreasing marriage rates,
people having fewer children, more people getting divorced,
and more people living alone. “ stated Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, professor of psychology at Brigham Young
University. (APA, 2017)
The article went
on to say – Holt-Lunstad recommended a greater priority be placed on research
and resources to tackle this public health threat from the societal to the
individual level. For instance, greater emphasis could be placed on social
skills training for children in schools and doctors should be encouraged to
include social connectedness in medical screening (APA, 2017).
In Europe, Middle East as well as in
Asia people appear to be happier than those of us in the Western countries.
With closer observation we notice the
major difference in those Nations is the way the family unit relates and
A typical Italian family lives close
to each other, gets together for family celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries a lot more frequently than
we do. When young couple get married they can depend on their parents financial
support as well as physical support for when grandchildren arrive on the scene.
The same can be said about Middle
Eastern families and families in Asia. Family members don’t always get along
nicely but they are always involved in each other’s lives – for better or for
worse. This gives the individual a sense of knowing that if they are ever in a
difficulty family will be there to support them. Parents often think about the
financial future of their children when they are working hard and accumulating
wealth. Unless there is war, the wealth of the family is passed down
increasingly from generation to generation. For this reason cutting off family
relationships are rare.
Imagine if there were certain
relationship skills that could be taught where families could sustainably
relate with one another in a healthier way.
What would it mean for a Society if
families were to stay together throughout their life? If more couples were able
to remain committed to one another, raising children who could depend on their
parents to always be there for them through thick and thin., I wonder if it
would decrease mental illness, depression and anxiety. I wonder if loneliness
would be dramatically reduced. And what it would mean for the health and
well-being of the individual.
Now let’s imagine essential yet unique relationship skills required for lifelong relationships were taught to every individual in society. The kind of relationship skills that would promote emotional intelligence and help resolve conflicts effectively. With 49% divorce rate, imagine couples staying together for life because they enjoy their relationship rather than out of obligation to do so.
Human beings are relational
creatures. Unless we are in healthy relationships it is not easy for us to find
happiness and fulfillment, even with the most successful career we could
As educators there is an enormous
responsibility to raise generations of individuals who are well adjusted and
contributing members of society, who in turn will raise the following
generations of well-adjusted contributing members of society. It all begins
with addressing the relationship between the couple.
This is the vision for which Grassroots Approach program is designed. For every individual to learn essential and unique relational skills to create, as well as maintain, healthy family life.
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