We have to help kids develop their social emotional health.

Social emotional health has to be woven into everything.

I work in a school system, and so this whole social emotional well-being is part of the work that I do in the district — teaching kids to talk about their feelings, teaching kids to be empathetic, teaching kids to persevere, teaching kids to ask for help.

Whereas I would say in the beginning of my career, we didn’t talk about that too much to now it’s started to shift to where we have kind of designated times of the day where we say, OK, so now we’re done with reading. Now it’s time to talk about social emotional learning and then there’s an end time to that. And then we switch to math. Like it’s this very distinct time of the day.

The work that we’re doing is to find ways to say these are concepts that all kids need to know and understand and experience and conditions that we need to have set up in our learning environments. So how can we just make this a part of all of our conversations so that we’re not saying turn off one side of your brain for reading right now and then click into another section to talk about social learning — but it’s just woven into everything. And this is a difficult concept for us to talk about. But I love the challenge. And sometimes challenge doesn’t always feel easy, but the challenge is how we grow. Let’s really dig into this and challenge ourselves.

We have to teach our adults how this works before they can teach a child how this works — and really attend to their needs, as well.

I think that one is going to take a lot of time to unpack and to re-norm as a society. And I don’t know if it’s a uniquely American thing. But there’s an expectation that if I had cancer, I’d go to the doctor and it would be taken care of. If I broke my leg, I would not have a problem telling people that I broke my leg and I would be more than willing to accept the help. If I’m struggling mentally or emotionally, that needs to be a little more ‘quiet.’ It’s not something that I’m supposed to share with people.

And I certainly would be more reticent to allow people in to help me with that because of those stigmas that exist. And I think the opposite is finding those people that you trust —finding those people that you can count on to say I just need you to listen right now.

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