A very integral part of our school curriculum has always been the moral science classes. And given how they were practiced, students either didn’t care enough or they’d end up promoting toxic positivity. It all came down to being “perfect” in whatever sense society and curriculum prescribes us to be – like a manual for functioning as human beings.

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I, for one, remember it as the time when students completed ‘homework’, which says a lot about what was being taught. While there was no practical approach to those classes, we all deserve lessons on life that do more than just promoting toxicity.

Here are all the things I wish we were taught, instead.

1. Taking a stand

Most moral science classes used to be about “being the bigger person” or “letting go”, which is good but it’s also not the only way to be. There are times when taking a stand, and fighting for what’s right is just as important – it doesn’t necessarily have to mean something negative. And it’s important that children are taught the right ways to do that as well.

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2. Respecting people for who they are

Growing up, having an opinion or reasoning with an adult, specifically our parents and relatives was labeled as misbehavior. Sadly, it stems from the idea of respecting people for their age – which comes down to listening to them, no matter what. We were never taught to respect people for who they were, or the fact that having an opinion and stating it isn’t disrespectful.

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3. Faith is a choice

It’s not surprising that every disagreement and issue comes down to people questioning our faith – given that we’re always taught the need to develop fear for it, instead of hope. Most textbook lessons also focus on “fearing a greater power” and always believing in it. When in-turn it should’ve been about choosing our own paths, with the ultimate idea of hope.

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4. Mental Health

Schools hardly talk about mental health, even if they do, it ends up becoming a toxic discussion with no real awareness. And while we were educated about hygiene for physical health, mental health deserved just as much attention. This means, students should have been allowed a safe space, while also being informed about mental health issues in general, which would normalize the discussion.

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5. The need to act against gender stereotypes

There’s no denying that some schools raised awareness around gender inequality, and the fact that it exists. But there’s hardly any conversation around the actions that need to be taken to fight it, starting to how to be better people at school and home. It was all about preaching things, just because the curriculum suggested.

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6. Live and let live

We know how our society needs to be educated about this, because clearly there’s no respect for other people’s choices. We’re all constantly surrounded by opinions on how to “live a perfect life”, but no one cares to just let us all be.

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7. Body Shaming

Bullying and body shaming are things that even children are exposed to. Unfortunately they do not know enough about it, to A) not do it, B) act against it; this leads to body image issues, and a society that normalizes unrealistic beauty standards. So it’s important to not only raise awareness around it, but also teach students to not do it.

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8. To make mistakes and learn from them

Very often we’re expected to be so perfect as to not make any mistakes at all, and then there’s the constant internal pressure. Of course, this builds up an unhealthy environment which mostly hinders growth. What we need is, to hear that it’s fine to make mistakes, but it’s important to judge for oneself when they’re wrong.

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There’s only hope that our education system evolves with time.