My name is Kelley Isaacs. I am 55 years old and have lived to see a lot of ups and downs in this world. I was diagnosed with rapid cycle bipolar as well as generalized anxiety disorder at a young age. I still am not quite sure how I feel about such diagnosis. On one hand it can assist in finding medications that may ease symptoms, however it might also stifle growth and create unseen boundaries for a patient diagnosed with such illnesses.

Myself, I have chosen to believe in “me”. I do not take prescription medications because I think I was made exactly as I am meant to be…flaws and all. Once I accepted myself for who I am I became successful.

I graduated from Portland State University with a B.S. in criminology and I minored in Psychology. I went on to become a paralegal in the field of Intellectual Property. Law.

I am writing to discuss what I believe to be a pretty simple and straight forward solution to some of the most prevalent problems in our society.

We have to start with a very significant change in our school systems. I think that we have got it all wrong. We hold math and other science, History, English and Social studies in high regard (as they should be). However those are only a small portion of skills that children require in order to grow up and be happy. I think first and foremost we need to teach Lessons in self esteem. I’m talking about starting in kindergarten and continuing throughout the years that a child is in school. Success is based on a persons happiness and self worth. It should be the first thing that we teach and nurtured always. The greed and hate and dishonesty that plagues our society, in my opinion all begins with unhappy people. People who are looking for self fulfillment from the outside instead of from within.

It has always seemed strange to me that we hold certain strengths in high regard while we barely speak of others. Our society has taught us that certain skills are valuable (which is wonderful for those who are lucky enough to posses those skills) while other skills are menial. This I think has caused the power to be unfairly balanced. One thing that will help boost self esteem is to help each child figure out where their strengths are. Everyone is good at something. Find what a child is good at e.g., math, writing, painting, piano, helping others achieve their goals, organizing, cooking etc., and formulate a plan for growth of those abilities. I am a believer that we are good at those things we like to do, so start with figuring out what a child likes to do. Does the child love animals? Drawing? Working with a lot of people? Wouldn’t it be a much better place if most people could get paid to do those things that they love and are good at?

This may sound like a large task that would take time and money to integrate into our current school system and it is. But it is not impossible. It can be done. I think we need to individualize teaching and not treat children as if they are all the same. They are complex beings that are not getting what they need to properly grow and fulfill their potential. Anyway, that is my food for thought.

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