teens kill out of boredom: summer vacations are too long

22 Aug

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57599336-504083/christopher-lane-australian-baseball-player-killed-by-bored-okla-teens-police-say/

I read the above news article, and it brought out two of my pet peeves. Summer vacations are too long, and guns are too easy to access.

People, and especially teens, need to be busy. Idle minds with no direction don’t often do much good. Summer vacations in America are way too long. They probably made sense in the days of one-room school houses, when kids were pulled into farms, with adult supervision, during the summer harvest time. In Urban settings, there are no farms to work on. Adults are often busy, with both parents needing to work full-time. Summer jobs are scarce due to the poor economy. That leaves teens with all the time and energy on their hands, with no supervision/direction, and nothing to do.

In addition, there has been a steady decline in mentoring for the upcoming generations. In some parts of the world, there are  religion-independent “moral science” classes, which teach students about general moral/social behaviors – values like kindness, refraining from lying or cheating, and certainly, the sanctity of life.

With the long summer vacations, kids take longer time to get back into routine of learning and studying. Their learning days are cut short and they have a harder time keeping-up with the curriculum. As students begin to get frustrated and fail, the curriculum gets “dumbed-down”. This actually leads to minds not being challenged enough, and more feelings of inadequacy as they grow.

Schools need to be in session for longer periods of time. Instead of one big chunk of 8-9 weeks’ vacation, allow them shorter, more frequent vacations. Giving them more time to learn the materials at a steady pace would help bring-up their scores, and enjoy learning. They would be supervised for longer periods of time, and vacations would be just short enough to allow minds to rest before they start getting bored and seeking trouble. Addition of Moral Science classes, or some other equivalents, would provide guidance to teens who lack appropriate mentoring.

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