The other book bag, the unseen bag, is overflowing with the stuff of life. This book bag is not fancy and it’s seldom ever put down, and never emptied out. Students carry this bag on their backs everyday all day. The unseen bag is full of emotion, pressure, and a desire to belong.
Am I going to get into college?
Why am I so fat?
Why don’t girls like me?
My mom wants to know why I don’t have a boyfriend.
Can I pass my math, science, or history class?
I’d rather have a job than go to school!
Are my parents going to get divorced?
Why does everyone hate me… especially my teachers?
Will I be good enough to get that internship?
Nobody loves me!
I think I might be pregnant!
My dad really wants me to play football. I hate football.
How am I going to afford tuition next semester?
Should I go to that party tomorrow night . . . remember what happened last time?
I have no idea what I’m going to do when I grow up.
Then they push themselves. They push themselves to attain a standard the media sets that is unattainable for most. The feel the pressure to be liked, to be loved, to matter, and all the while they have little idea of who they are or what they have to offer.
I’d like to suggest that we help our students with the unseen book bag.
1) Allow you’re student the opportunity to put the bag down. Talk to them about the pressures they face.
2) Emotions can be positive. Start filling the unseen bag with positive emotions. Tell students they are loved, that they matter, and it’s simply OK to be how they are.
3) Help students navigate through the choices in life. Let’s stop telling them what we want from them, and start asking them what they want.
4) Let’s start helping students understand that are uniquely created and have gifts and talents to offer the world around them.
5) Allow students the opportunity to express their uniqueness. Let’s just see where they can take us with their creativity.
Lastly, will someone please find out what that smell is coming from that book bag in the car.
Sean R. says
Nice point about filling the bag with positives. I have to remind myself to try to fill my kids “bags” with positive things..not just nagging or griping.
I enjoyed reading this article. I especially liked how you brought to the forefront of our minds how much students carry around with them. I think sometimes we forget how much our kids face and think about. Yet, it is important that we remember…they are people too.
Thanks for sharing.