Getting your kids high…..REALLY???


by Kenneth Justice

~Earlier in the year a Day Care worker was arrested in the United States when it was found out she was giving the children cough medicine in order to get them to go to sleep; she was giving them drugs to calm them down.

Imagine what kind of world this would be if we gave our children drugs as a means of controlling their behavior;

—) The children are too loud in the car while you are driving to the store; give them drugs

—) Your child misbehaves while at church and won’t sit still, so you give him some drugs

—) The children seem to be fighting amongst each other more today; give them drugs

I think we would all agree that a parent who gives their children drugs as a facet of child rearing might need their motives examined. And perhaps you’re thinking that it seems strange to even think of giving children drugs to calm them down…..but lets remember that is what schools have been doing for a long time.

When I was younger, schools in the United States were finding that children simply didn’t want to sit still in class. However, instead of asking WHY the children didn’t want to sit still in class schools asked HOW can we get them to sit still; enter Ritalin.

The New York Times has said that Ritalin is more potent than cocaine.

One of the principle motivations of my blog and my approach to life is asking WHY…..

“HOW” should only be asked once we have established the answer to WHY. Too much of the decisions being made in our culture spawn from HOW and the ethical issues behind WHY are never discussed;

—-) How can we create human clones

—-) How can we create advertisements that get consumers to spend even more of their money

—-) How can we create cheaper homes

But SHOULD we do any of those things? WHY should we? Why should we create human clones? Should we be creating better commercials that get consumers to spend more of their money? Are cheaper homes a good idea? Don’t we want quality homes…not cheaper homes?

Do you see the difference between asking WHY versus asking HOW?

When school officials began asking themselves HOW can we get children to sit still in class they did a great disservice to children….because they never asked, “WHY does it seem that children don’t like sitting still in class?”

Has anyone ever bothered to ask whether its a good idea to make children sit still at their desks for hours-at-a-time?

—-) Perhaps children want to be running around

—-) Perhaps sitting-at-a-desk isn’t the best way for children to learn

When the Ritalin generation began to be identified, researchers noticed that a higher percentage of young boys were being prescribed the drug……..

Is it just me or do you have to be a psychologist or rocket scientist to realize that ‘young boys like to run around’? Its in their nature! They don’t want to sit still for-hours-on-end. They want to get their hands dirty looking at bugs. They want to use their hands to dig in the dirt, throw balls, and build Legos…..and lets be honest many girls want to do this also!

Unfortunately, we created a philosophy behind the way-we-do-school where

—) everyone must sit at a desk

—) everyone must learn the same way

—) everyone must sit still

—) everyone must learn at the same pace

However, when we let children learn at each of their own, individual pace, researchers have found that children excel in their academics.

Why are we so stubborn in the way-we-do-school?

—) Why don’t we throw out the desks and teach children biology as the teacher takes them for a walk through the woods every day

—) Why don’t we throw out the desks and teach children about sexuality as we show them animals in the wild who are mating; at certain times of the year birds and squirrels are all over the place mating!

—) Why don’t we throw out the desks and have the teachers take the children on walks through the woods, by the ocean, the river, or anywhere OUTSIDE.

Why don’t we get the kids out of the classrooms and closer to nature???

Notice all of those questions I pose are WHY questions; we need to begin asking why……BEFORE we ask HOW.

If we agree that there are some very serious cultural disorders….then we need to begin asking WHY they exist…..and then we need to ask HOW can we fix them.

One of the things that psychologists are finding is that the more disconnected we become from nature; the higher the likelihood we will struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mood problems.

So WHY don’t we get children outside of the classroom and closer to nature? Why don’t we come up with more creative ways to teach children rather than giving them drugs to calm them down?

Right now I’m going to have another cup of coffee….I don’t need to ask WHY about that.


Categories: Culture & Society

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34 replies

  1. Thanks, Kenneth, as usual.

  2. But would you not agree that we have been asking the wrong questions all this time as long as men can think.
    Asking how we can build cheaper homes should simply be, how can we make quality homes cheaper.
    And as for drugs i hate drugs period. used them done with them. in all forms.
    But as a kid i had my share of alcohol to make me sleep. as in dip sucker in lemonbrandy. but thats like 40 years ago

  3. One way to ask the how question here might be, How do children learn best? The answer, differently, every single one of them. I fully agree in learning how each child learns best and then teaching them in that fashion. Why? Because it’s what’s best for the children. Perhaps if we all took a little more time to consider that, we might be able to skip some of the hows and whys because the children will simply learn to enjoy learning. Just my two cents. This was a wonderful post. Thank you for the read.

  4. Maybe if children knew more than four walls and desk we’d have fewer environmental problems and a more stable earth all around.

    • Excellent point: I believe strongly in getting children outdoors. Not only is it healthy for them….as u said they can learn more about the world and environment

  5. Teachers realize that children need to learn in many different ways, but the administrators and corporate interests who make money off the schools want to standardize and prevent that from happening.

  6. There was always a back door at my schools. Economically we could only afford doing experiments in the football field. The very expensive private school invited me to observe their daily scientific research. Collecting data and publishing it. We had conferences in the woods on Environmental teaching and Service Learning. The small schools with the money could engage students in hands on learning and they hired teachers with PHD’s and Masters.
    Until the Why is something other than money many things will stay this way.
    I sat with an addict yesterday and she believes she has this problem due to all the psych drugs they gave her as a child. I may be able to help her learn to meditate and write about her confusions. The brain chemistry will need to settle as it will. Recovery from mangled opiate receptors in the brain, may be in medical journals but the lay people hear very little practical help.
    I do observe that selfish parents abound in our society. They can’t play with their children because they are fixated on their own pleasures 24 hours a day.

  7. I agree but present another side to this: not all of it is schools or teachers faults. Government officials at the federal and at state levels have made decisions that greatly impact how teaching is done because of things LIKE No Child Left Behind and legislation before and since then. There is also the culture that parents want teachers to be babysitters but hate it when teachers try to discipline. This kind of thing forces schools and teachers to have to take “how” methods because their hands are tied otherwise and are STILL expected to have to teach all children, get them all up to speed but it’s hard to do that with behavior issues. It’s also because starting before I was even born but has gained momentum, again government (state or federal) have been cutting back funds to schools. There’s been a push to focus only on math, science and English but nevermind that music has a profound impact on math and language skills, nevermind that physical education helps eliminate that restlessness amongst many other positives, nevermind that the fine arts also provide a litany of benefits and all three are very worthwhile. Nope. We want to compete globally and want to force our kids to only study those main topics, maybe even some history that can be skewed as school districts can choose what to teach or not teach – Texas at one point wanted to eliminated all Latino cultural studies because it would teach kids to hate the U.S. or some similar b.s. I agree with what you’re getting at Kenneth, but having spent some time in schools, watching both my parents in the education system from childhood, it’s not just the schools or districts’ responsibilities for this disaster in our education. I understand why the feds or even state governments step in as they fund public schools BUT they really don’t have a clue what it’s like in the trenches. This is no different than when companies board members make decisions for places like JCPenny or Sears that have negatively impacted both companies because they have no clue what the customers really want – they go based solely on numbers. Well folks – kids AREN’T numbers and so you can’t treat them as such. I’m sure I can come up with more to this but I think you get the picture lol. Why is definitely an important question that can’t be neglected.

  8. Totally agree. (I do think there are some kids who have an imbalance of sorts and might need medical intervention but not at the current rates.) The worst thing is that even the gym periods are getting shorter and more frequently canceled due to other events in the gym.

    Before the Christmas holidays (when the kids are most amped and out of control) there is no gym for two weeks due to the holiday concerts! Crazy!

  9. Love your post! Having been involved with public education for almost 20 years, I am really supportive of your point of view. I think one of the greatest mistakes health care professionals/psychiatrists make is misdiagnosing/mistreating depression as ADHD (remember that DOCTORS have to actually agree to prescribe the medication). In children and adolescents, kids may present “heightened irritability” more than sadness. This irritability may look like ADHD. Imagine a child being given ritalin when he/she is actually depressed. Heartbreaking.

  10. So true! Was planning on writing about this topic on my blog sometimes in the future. It is an issue close to my heart but I couldn’t have said it better than you did!

  11. As a homeschool mom I could not agree more. Excellent post. I work with kids in an after school program and it is appalling to me how many are on medications, talk openly about it and some even knew the distinction between a psychologist and psychiatrist being that the latter can prescribe. I didn’t know that until I was in my 40’s!

  12. I don’t often actually read blogs. I tend to just peruse(so self involved. I know) But today I did read yours. Veyr interesting . I have just spent the last 10 days wondering as a parent about wether or not I should medicate my childs recent diagnosis of ADHD. And yep…it’s Methylphenidate they are offering AKA Ritalin.,,as apparently he is pretty high up there on that scale. Now as I am sure you can imagine this has been an agonising 10 days. Do I or don’t I? I was certainly a child that fell through the loopholes due to lazy ,disengaged teachers who could not be arsed with my emotional intelligence and general boredom with the school system. But my issue was not ADHD. or ADD for that matter. I was just a kid that did not function so well in a mainstream school that had a few bits and pieces going on at home.
    However this is not the case for my son. There is no doubt in my mind that he recieves the world a little differently from the rest of us.It has been obvious since birth. In fact I was aniticpating an Autism diagnosis. You can not believe how thrilled I am to hear that with soem management, the things that have appeared to be Autistic tendencies may well fall away and my boy may have a chance at having normal fulfilling relationships and a report card he can be really proud of.
    I have never really had to think much about the whole “Ritalin” and overdiganosing our children thing, until 10 day ago. NOw it is a very sensitive topic for me as in this world I feel as if I’m dammed if I do and I’m dammed if I don’t. I have done hours of research and asking questions on the pros and cons of it all.Diet ,massage,cognital bahavioural therapy, medication etc. I KNOW that some kids just CAN”T sit still. AT ALL.! And MOST kids can for a period of time. I am of the impression that Doctors are not recommending Ritalin hand over fist these days. A historical mistake. That once you start you can stop when ever you choose. And if the drug is not for you or your child…it will become apparent fairly quickly.
    So with that said I feel that it is more about askng WHERE are the schools that provide these alternative educational systems and HOW can I support them and help them grow into more mainstream alternatives. Because they ARE out there. In New Zealand we have Democratic Schools and Rudlf Steiner schools and more. They provide an alternative education option for many Kiwis. They are starting to grow n popularity and seem to be churning out some sound young adults. I see alot of dissatisfaction with our education systems and our medical systems. i believe by actively supporting the options that reonate with what we personally believe….our voices get louder and our children get he oppertunity to grow into everything they can be.

    • my heart goes out to you.

      You’ve hit-the-nail-on-the-head. If we are a parent with a child that simply doesn’t ‘fit’ in the current model of ‘sit still’ for hours classroom experience…..then where are our alternatives?

      There ARE alternative schools…but they aren’t too many of them and if we don’t live near one….then are our options?

      Lots of questions…but unfortunately I don’t have all the answers.

  13. I used to teach fourth grade and I certainly agree that children should not be forced to sit still behind a desk all day! I always tried to have a lot of fun activities going on in my classroom. However some children really do seem to be unable to function without ADHD meds (although they are undoubtedly over-prescribed).

  14. Reblogged this on Laugh.Love.Play.Learn.Grow and commented:
    I completely agree that the system in place to “teach” children is not geared towards the vast array of methods in which different children learn. We put one model in place and expect every child/student to excel through this ‘one size fits all’ mentality. It’s a disservice to our children to restrict their individual learning abilities and capabilities by limiting the ways in which they are expected to learn and absorb knowledge. We need to start asking ‘Why’ we do the things we do instead of blindly following tradition and someone’s expectations of what is right.
    Great post Culture Monk!

  15. I comment on your articles but this time I gotta’ say something about the picture. I’m not a photographer so I don’t know how you do it, but – really cool color pop with the B&W in the background. Nice.

  16. I thought this was a very good post. I like that you say we need to ask WHY instead of HOW. I think that would help a lot. I also think we need to move away from what we call public schools now that are controlled by the federal government almost completely and back towards real community schools. It’s great to see more people getting into home school and yet sad to see that there aren’t more opportunities for parents to get good educations for their kids anyplace else. Harder and harder for most people to take the time to teach their kids themselves. 😦
    I think most kids are very able to learn a LOT more than the government schools are feeding them. I see public schools as more like babysitters. They teach kids to sit down, shut up, follow orders and DON’T talk back or question any authority. That is emphatically NOT what we need our kids to learn.
    I think we need a complete makeover of our entire system (start with the schools, we need to get people to think for themselves before we can make much progress in any other area).


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