The other night I was exploring the stories on my web-browser. There is a variety of these, some were the big news stories of the day, and others are entertainment whilst others offer handy- hints for day-to-day living. I was interested to watch a short clip on how to fold fitted sheets. When I am tasked with the duty of folding sheets, fitted sheets generally end in a flat ball that is then crammed into the cupboard.
One of the more serious items on the browser covered the issue of growing anxiety levels in kiwi kids. The short clip talked about a programme trialled in Canterbury following the earthquakes that is now being rolled out across the country. The question has to be asked why do children today need programmes in schools to deal to anxiety issues. Are our children today more anxious than in previous generations or are we only now realising that there have always been anxiety issues serious enough to require mental health intervention strategy.
In reality, there have always been children with anxiety issues. There are a number of reasons for this. Maybe the home is a stressed environment. Maybe the school environment is stressful. Are societal expectations on children so great today that they are causing serious mental harm? Is it simply a matter that children in Canterbury, for obvious reasons,
suffering from anxiety that required intervention and that perhaps these programmes would be useful to introduce our young people across the country to develop strategies in preparation for an adult life that will inevitably be stressful.
Recently the Government talked about ensuring a more structured educational environment in our early childhood education programmes. This in the face of overwhelming evidence that young children learn best through more unstructured play environments. Many years ago now when studying human development we talked about play as the work of children. The National led Government that came to power nine years ago quickly moved to develop national standards testing for children. Helpful for parents and government policy analysis, but arguably not that good for children. Maybe today a child's life is simply too structured and we're expecting our kids to grow up too soon. There has been talk that intermediate aged children should have access to career counselling.
As present and future parents and grandparents, we need to be continually vigilant to ensure our young have healthy environments in which to grow. The Church has a role to play. Our role is to ensure that the young person's context provides a healthy spirituality. One where the inclusive grace and compassion of God and God's people is evident.