#PlayMore #WorryLess #fun
Laurie Santos greeted her Yale University students with slips of paper that said, “No class today.”
Though she was canceling class in the middle of the semester with exams and papers looming, she instructed her students NOT to use the 75 minutes studying. She told them that they had to enjoy their time.
“She was asking them to stop worrying about grades, even if only for an hour,” writes Susan Svrluga, in an article for The Washington Post. It was also published May 20, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
As you might guess, Santos psychology class, titled “Psychology and the Good Life,” is the largest class, by far, in Yale’s 317-year history, Svrluga writes.
Before you start laughing, students, particularly those who go to top-notch universities, have pretty rugged schedules. They take courses. Some juggle those courses – homework, tests, papers etc. – around part-time jobs.
There are times when kids need to just kick back and do something fun or, at least, restful.
Perhaps some folks are, let’s just say, not sympathetic. Life isn’t like that. One has to have rigor to make life good, right?
Yet, that is an oxymoron.
The bigger lesson here might be creating balance in your life. If you work all the time, even make lots of money, but never take time to enjoy it, what good is it?
Certainly, for the students, their rigor is temporary. But what Santos is trying to teach them is, to quote the old adage, “all work and no play makes Johnny (or Janey) a dull boy (or girl).”
All too often, the “good life,” as we see it, involves trappings such as kids’ ball games, cooking dinner, mowing the lawn and, oh yes, having a job that might eat you alive.
We schedule ourselves, or over-schedule ourselves, if you prefer, down to every last minute. If you are going from the time you get up to the time you go to bed – perhaps incapable of finding down time – that, by and large, is not good.
The Santos class is teaching young kids who are, just from the school they are attending, likely to be high achievers to, using another cliché, “stop and smell the roses.”
We’ve previously talked about creating happiness. This class is showing kids that they MUST find time in their busy schedules to do that, however they wish.
If you find the idea for this class instructive, but are overly worried whether you are doing enough to keep your head above water, know that there are many vehicles out there to help you if you are either time-broke, or not financially where you’d like to be. To learn about one of the best, message me.
Meanwhile, don’t laugh at Santos’ class or the many students who are taking it. Life lessons are as important, or more so, than academic ones.
Sometimes, you have to say to yourself, “I need a break.” But, your life has become such that you have no clue how to take one.
Perhaps you should study what’s taught in Santos’ class. It might even change your life for the better.


We think of childhood as a simple time –fancy free, no worries, necessities provided without effort.
But Vicki Abeles sees childhood differently.
She produced a 2009 video titled, “Race to Nowhere,” that told stories of students who were burned out and overworked by the pressure-cooker education culture. She featured her son, Zak, in the video and in her column on the subject, published Sept. 26, 2014, in USA Today.
In decades past, the philosophy was that a busy child stayed out of trouble. Many education systems stressed rigor, lots of homework, even busy work to keep kids’ minds on one thing: school.
That evolved a bit, as kids got into sports, music, drama, debate and other excellent extracurricular activities. It was thought then that those things helped balance a student’s life.
Today, as we see our education system documented as hardly the best in the world, we have created kids that are overworked, overstressed and still not achieving what they should.
“In some places across the country, the frantic pace of modern life has even trickled down to kindergarten, where students are already bringing home piles of homework,” Abeles writes.
She says young people nationwide suffer from alarming rates of anxiety, sleep loss and depression. She quotes a survey by the American Psychological Association that one in four teens reported feeling extreme levels of stress during the school year.
Teens may not seem stressed to you. Of course, there are normal stresses for teens, including boy-girl relationships, having to look good to your peers, wearing the “right” clothes etc. But, if you have or know a teenager, does his or her stress level seem abnormal? If the teen is open to talking to you frankly, ask him or her about it.
We need an education system that makes kids not just learn, but WANT to learn. Just as we adults need a work-life balance, kids need a school-life balance. Sure, school is their job. But it should not be their life.
They should be able to easily mix academic demands, extracurricular activities and free time to hang with friends, date (if they are old enough) or just do what they want. After all, they are only kids once.
Sometimes, kids find their life calling by having the freedom to do what they want.
They should certainly learn that some structure is important. We can’t raise children to believe that they can ALWAYS do what they want, no matter what. A job requires some commitment to structure that the employer requires. Higher education requires some structure to get a degree.
But making kids a slave to structure at an early age will probably hurt them more than help them. It might cause them to develop mental, even physical injuries that could stay with them for life. What kind of waste of potential would that be?
While students need to learn some structure, they also should learn that there are ways to make a life that may not require the structure we are teaching them. It may require a different, more enjoyable kind of structure. For a look at one such lifestyle, visit
If you are over a certain age, you learned the importance of structure in life. As a teen, you may have even rebelled at such structure. More than likely, you got over your rebellion and got “structured” again. Abeles believes today’s kids are over-structured. If you have a teen, or know one, you might want to cut them some slack.
Instead of making sure every minute of the day, and night, is tied up with some activity, give them some time to be them. You may be pleasantly surprised at not only how they use that time, but also how it could make them much better adults.