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In Japan School Janitors Simply Don’t Exist, Here’s Why

In Japan School Janitors Simply Don’t Exist, Here’s Why

In Japan, students don’t take exams until they reach the age of 10. Until that point, it is deemed more important for Japanese students to learn to live. They are taught how to live. They learn to take care of animals, to respect people, and to understand nature. Children are taught values like self-control, responsibility, and justice.

Why don’t Japanese schools hire school janitors?

As part of their education, children are taught to keep their surroundings clean. If everyone takes care of and respects shared space, everyone will be existing in a harmonious environment. It is believed that learning this mentality will teach children respect and responsibility. They will understand that cleaning is everybody’s responsibility. So students don’t see themselves as above such work; they help each other out during cleaning duties.

Children eat lunch at school, and they are responsible for bringing their garbage to the recycling zone and cleaning the table before they leave. Every milk box is collected to be recycled. Students also eat lunch in the classroom with their teacher, which creates a closer bond between student and teacher. At lunch time, the students are responsible for serving food to teachers; there are no lunch workers. Once lunch finishes, clean-up is so thorough, you won’t be able to tell that anyone had eaten there!

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Not only that, but many schools grow their own food and children are taught to cook easy and healthy meals. Again, it is not about the food. It is about education. This social approach to education helps students improve autonomy, responsibility, and encourages the development of a strong work ethic.

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    What are the long-term benefits?

    As stated before, teaching students the responsibility of cleaning up after themselves is great way to facilitate a culture where cleaning is right. Also, this action encourages mutual respect. They are taught to preserve a clean shared space, and become a team working to benefit each other. As they clean, children take the opportunity to chat with their friends, so it is not a boring task.

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    In fact, it’s not just about the activity of cleaning – It is not the action itself but the meaning behind the act. The same principle would apply if the children were told to paint the classroom, or to keep the grass pruned. The fact is that they are taught to work as a team in caring for their environment. When they grow older, these children will continue to respect and take care of the space around them. They’ll never forget this good habit. The cleaning task is just a tool to teach them a habit.

    As Michael Auslin, a former English teacher in Japan, said in a quote for NPR, “School is not just for learning from a book, It’s about learning how to become a member of society and taking responsibility for oneself”. The purpose of public school is to educate in all aspects, not just book-learning. They train them to live. In their future, no one is going to clean up after them, so they better learn to do it now.

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      Photo: Nishatha Bijeesh

      What can parents learn from this story?

      Children need to be educated. Education is not only a means to develop their intelligence, but to become a useful person. A human that cares about other human beings and nature. School time is a great period in our children’s lives. School is where they learn new skills, habits, and experiences so we should make this experience outstanding.

      As parents, we should take a minute to evaluate this method in instructing our children. We must understand that they need to be respectful, responsible and justice-oriented. There is no point in only improving their intelligence while undermining their humanity. Maybe we do not want to see our children cleaning and washing, but we surely want them to become well-rounded individuals. Remember that it is not the action, but the final result that is important.

      What do you think?

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      Featured photo credit: Koh Mui Fong via todayonline.com

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      Carlos Alberto Romay

      Freelance Writer

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      Last Updated on January 3, 2020

      The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

      The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

      Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

      The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

      1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

      Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

       I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

      To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

      And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

       2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

      Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

      3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

      Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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      4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

      The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

      5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

      Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

      6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

      Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

      7. Positive people smile a lot!

      When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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      8. People who are positive are great communicators.

      They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

      9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

      One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

      10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

      Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

      How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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      I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

      Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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