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Slide 2:One of every four adolescents in the US is currently at risk of not achieving productive adulthood. Eccles, J & Gootman, J.A. (2002) Community programs to promote youth development. National Research council and Institute of Medicine. Washington, D.C. National Academies Press. Approximately 21% of children ages 9-17 have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder associated with minimum impairment. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999): 123.
Slide 3:Despite increased ability to treat depression, the current generation of young people is more likely to be depressed and anxious than was its parents’ generation. Practice Parameters for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Depressive Disorders (Washington, DC: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1998): 2. About 20 percent of students report having seriously considered suicide. “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance: United States, 2001,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 51, no. SS-4 (Washington, DC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 2002).
Slide 4:About 11 percent of US teenagers drop out of high school. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2000 (Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, November 2001). More than 1 of 3 adolescents report having been in a physical fight at school, and about 9% report having been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property. “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance: United States, 2001,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 51,no. SS-4 (Washington, DC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 2002).
Slide 5:Behavioral and neuroscience Connectivity to people and community ROLE MODELS ENVIRONMENTS
Slide 6:What really holds potential for making a moral impact on a mid-adolescent is a powerful connection with individual adults whom he/she can admire or idealize. It is that individual teacher, coach, counselor, religious youth worker, Big Brother, neighbor, grandparent…who can inspire him to make more sense of the social confusion of his surroundings. Barbara M. Stilwell, “The Consolidation of Conscience in Adolescence,” Commission on Children at Risk, Working Paper 13 (New York: Institute for American Values, 2002): 9.
Slide 7:“Researchers have demonstrated the protective impact of extra-familial adult relationships for young people, including other adult relatives, friends’ parents, teachers or adults in health and social service settings, among others. This sense of connectedness to adults is salient as a protective factor against an array of health-jeopardizing behaviors of adolescents and has protective effects for both girls and boys across various ethnic, racial and social class groups.” Michael Resnick, “Best Bets for Improving the Odds for Optimum Youth Development,” Commission on Children at Risk, Working Paper 10 (New York: Institute for American Values, 2002): 13.
Slide 8:Warm and nurturing community “Children typically learn to be what they admire, and having warm, nurturing relationships with admirable adults is arguably the single finest way to help children learn.” Sets clear limits and expectations. Close relationships matter, but so do clear rules and expectations. Children need adults to set clear standards and a positive vision of the goals they are to achieve and the people they are to become.”
Slide 9:It is multi-generational A sizable body of scholarship confirms what most people sense intuitively: children benefit enormously from being around caring people in all stages of the life cycle. They benefit in special ways from being around old people, including, of course, their grandparents.” See Arthur Kornhaber and Kenneth L. Woodward, Grandparents/Grandchildren: The Vital Connection (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1981).
Slide 10:Reflects and transmits a shared understanding of what it means to be a good person. “The psychologist Jerome Kagan of Harvard University says: ‘After hunger, a human’s most important need is to know what’s virtuous.’” Quoted in Susan Gilbert, “Scientists Explore the Molding of Children’s Morals,” New York Times, March 18, 2003, p. F5.
Slide 11:Behavioral and neuroscience Connectivity to people and community ROLE MODELS Environment Moral Reasoning
Slide 12:“The human brain appears to be organized to ask ultimate questions and seek ultimate answers.” The neuroscientists Eugene d’Aquili and Andrew B. Newberg have used brain imaging to study individuals involved in spiritual practices such as contemplative prayer and meditation. During such states, they have found an increase in activity in a number of frontal brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex.” Eugene d’Aquili and Andrew B. Newberg, The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Religious Experience (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999): 118-199.
Slide 13:This research suggests that the human need to know what is true about life’s purpose and ultimate ends is connected to brain functions underlying many spiritual and religious experiences.” Andrew Newberg and Eugene D’Aquili, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief (New York: Ballantine Books, 2001): 143.
Slide 14:Human beings appear to have ‘no choice but to construct myths to explain their world.’” They are using the word “myth” non- perjoratively, defining it as a religious explanation of the world. Eugene d’Aquili and Andrew B. Newberg, The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Religious Experience (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999): 86.
Slide 15:The need in young people to connect to ultimate meaning and to the transcendent is not merely the result of social conditioning, but is instead an intrinsic aspect of the human experience.” See K.S. Kendler, C.O. Gardner, and C.A. Prescott, “Religion, psychopathology, and substance use and abuse: A multimeasure, genetic -epidemiologic study,” American Journal of Psychiatry 154, vol. 3
Slide 16:We are hardwired to connect to other people. We are hardwired to connect to moral meaning and to the possibility of the transcendent. Meeting these basic needs for connectedness is essential to health and to human flourishing.
Slide 17:The power and importance of reasoning, writing, thinking, reflection "We learned that early education, linguistic ability and the way we look at life seems to indicate what we will be like in the end of life,“ David Snowdon's 15-year-old "Nuns' Study" at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky Medical Center forms the basis for his book, "Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier and More Meaningful Lives" (Bantam Books),