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Religion is certainly a focal point in man’s lives. We find deeper purpose and meanings in the existence because of faith. We are able to overcome trial and difficulties because we believe that God or any other supreme or divine form is over us. In our daily lives, we find the truth of our religious convictions. We also manifest our faith in what we act or say and all the things we strive for. If there is no inner life in every one of us, I think we will not be able to know our directions and we will find our lives empty and meaningless. In general, religion is an integral part of one’s live.

For some, it is a lifestyle such as going to church or temple everyday or every Sunday or every Saturday. It means eating this kind of food or abstaining for another type such as pork, etc. it can also mean not cutting one’s hair or growing one’s beard. As it is, religion is very much incorporated in our daily lives because we act our beliefs. We do things not only because we want to do it but also because it is a divine rule or a holy prescription. We make important decisions based on our religious beliefs and practices such as who to marry, where to study, how to relate with others, etc.

By following our religious vows and convictions, we are able to act our faith in the manner that is healthy to our mental and spiritual state. The role of religion in our personal lives is profoundly related to our psychological and social aspects more than anything. It is connected with our psychological well being because religion and our all faith, values, beliefs, standards, norms, and opinions are somehow formed by our religious beliefs. However, in a more general sense, religion has a negative effect if imparted in our public schools.

These schools are purportedly not benefited with such religious dogmas that hinder people from ultimately pursuing their dreams. Thus, it has no place in our public school systems. In fact, organized religion makes people rely on a power other than themselves and relegates that power externally and far from reach such that he no longer strives to attain excellence from one’s own inner reserves. I am more of a believer in existentialism. Existentialism emphasizes the uniqueness and the importance of existence—the inner, immediate experience of self-awareness.

The fundamental drive or urge is to exist and to be recognized as an individual. If we are so recognized, we gain a sense of meaning and significance in life. Emphasizing organized religion in school tends to make students rely on a force that they tend to put their belief on, instead of putting all their energy reserves on perfecting themselves and their academic life by doing the best possible humanly means to do it. The most meaningful point of reference for any person is his or her own immediate consciousness, which cannot be contained in systems of organized abstractions.

Abstract thinking tends to be impersonal and to lead away from the concrete human being and the human situation. Reality or being is existence that is found not anywhere else, but in the “I” rather than the “it. ” Thus, the center of thought and meaning is the existing individual thinker. For the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, for example, people who pretend that their view of life is determined by sheer reason are both tiresome and unperceptive; they fail to group the elementary fact that they are not pure thinkers, but existing individuals. The Existentialist concept of “Existence Precede Essence” involves counseling for leaders.

Since schools need individuals who are themselves in process of becoming, public schools need some source of what Carkhuff and Berenson (1967) term “human nourishment. ” The most elegant and harmonious choice for nourishment would be continuous, lifelong counseling, both individual and group. Leading a group is they can maintain their growth toward self-actualization, a “maintenance group” for people to learn to do things independently, is more essential than organized sets of limiting beliefs. When everybody works utilizing the potential of their inner reserves, the group members are able to examine consequences of alternatives.

Members can be assisted to think through to logical conclusion of various plans of action, and in so doing, become aware of freedom. Each member needs to examine the responsibility he carries for his chosen alternatives and face fully that he had no one on whom to shift this responsibility. He and he alone must accept the consequences of his action. He also must recognize that others will be affected by his actions and choices and he must bring into awareness the effect of his choices on others, for this represents part of his responsibility.

Teachers in public schools must not overtly or covertly try to take away each student’s responsibility in and out of the group. Teachers are responsible for the group process. If a student chooses to be late, that is his choice; the teacher begins on time. If a student chooses not to enter into the interaction, that is his choice; the teacher creates the climate where interaction is available (Shostrom). During the past decades, America has witnessed an exodus of immigrants coming from various continents like Africa, Europe, and South America.

Among others, these people see America as the Land of Promise and Hope and they have worked hard to attain security and gain a foothold in a land where they are a minority. These people relied on their own strengths in order to do this and this ought to be emphasized in our public schools. One cannot just form abstractions about concepts one cannot live. When one relies on religion to explain extraordinary things, then people will just think that this is all right and that expending extra effort is no longer necessary.

Asian communities have been sprouting every where, and eventually their success became apparent to the society. Most rose through ranks of middle-to-upper class. At Cupertino, California, the site of the affluent suburbs of Silicon Valley, an occurrence of ‘white flight’ has been observed. According to Suein Hwang, from her article published at The Wall Street Journal Online, “Many white parents say they’re leaving because the schools are academically driven and too narrowly invested in subjects such as math and science at the expense of liberal arts and extracurricular like sports and other personal interests.

” Consequently these competent immigrants are also raising high-achiever offsprings who seems to be up to the challenge of a rigorous educational system. This kind of environment in public schools can happen because people relied more on their own efforts than with anyone else or any set or organized religion. “Parental involvement. . .

makes the biggest difference in student performance at the high school level” (EdSource Online) An observation of several parents in Cupertino is that “new immigrant parents, particularly those from countries such as China and India, often put a lot of academic pressure on their children” (Hwang). At the University of Texas, this syndrome of Asian students’ excellence with regards to family characteristics became the topic of a study conducted by Philip O. Sijuwade. He looked at variables like attitude toward school, parental expectation, cognitive difference, extra-curricular activities and parent-child relationships.

The result of the study indicated that “the attitude of parents toward education and expectations of school teachers have made quite an impact on the learning result of the children” and that “Asian parents show stronger feeling than Anglo parents concerning the value of education for their children’s success” (Sijuwade 164). Education is emphasized and the focus of the school is more on achievement and excellence. It is very much a part of Asian culture to put a high priority in pedigree education. Thus, they demand a lot from their children.

Sarah Hecht, a Korean student of Yale University who grew up with orthodox parents in a predominantly Asian community says she saw how parents impose high standard on their kids (Seigel). These parents are willing to invest their resources on their child’s education; actions that can be accounted to the great influence of Confucianism in Asian culture, valuing the discipline of the mind more than the body or any organized religion. This also affects the type of extra-curricular activities that Asian student engage in, their pursuit is more in individualized activities (music lessons ranking first) and in activities related to learning.

While that of Anglo children are more group-oriented ventures and related to psychomotor development (like sports) (Sijuwade 166). This relative lack of social contact of Asian kids impedes any after-school distractions like phone calls and visits from friends, giving the student more time for homework. Many groups have been engaged in a study of the potential of their own organization through a programme of meetings, carefully briefed visits of enquiry to other clubs, and a wider programme of action research. The mere fact that action of this kind was already being taken began what it was hoped to achieved.

Other groups have been concerned with providing only a programme item, which has been approached in much the same way. The greatest benefit arises when the contribution is a personal one, personal in the sense that it inevitably involves the group in coping with, and contributing to, other people in a personal way. It is not enough to establish goals once and for all. When this saying is applied to generations of youngsters, we see that they come and go very quickly, and each new generation must be given the opportunity to identify with the goals, or, more correctly, to re-establish the goals.

This lack of continuity may be seen in practice when a group of young people have developed a great sense of loyalty in the course of constructing or decorating their premises, for it can be very disconcerting when the next generation of young people, who had a stake in the enterprise, shows little respect for the condition of the premises. The effect of the presence or absence of clearly defined goals has been seen also in the building of a number of community centres. (Schwarz,). The satisfaction of belonging to a group will also be influenced by the status of the group, the reflected glory that it confers upon the members.

This is a kind of halo effect. Some national and local groups have this effect and it is regarded almost as an honor to belong to them. Outside benefits conferred in this way by membership of a group add to its attractiveness and cohesiveness. The same effect might work either way in youth clubs, or in specific classes in school. Clubs that are highly regarded in their own vicinity will be more attractive to their members, whereas a club with a bad reputation will have the opposite effect, that of detracting from the social stature of the young person who joins it.

Part of the strategy may be this regard, in order to enable them to be more generous and helpful to one another (Raymond). As an existentialist, I make a clear-cut distinction between existence and essence. Existence means the state of being actual, or occurring within space and time, or it refers to “something given here and now. ” It is used in the sense in which selves or human individuals recognized to exists or to live. For existentialists, however, the verb “to exist” has a richer and more positive content than the verb “to live. ” Existence for us means a full, vital, self-conscious, responsible and growing life—which is what students need to know more deeply.


Carkhuff, Robert R. and Berenson, Bernard C. Beyond Counseling and Therapy. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1968. Hwang, Suein. ”White Flight in Silicon Valley. ” Real Estate Journal. Retrieved May 23, 2007 at: <http://www. homes. wsj. com/buysell/mmarkettrends/ 20051123-hwang. html> Raymond, D. B. Existentialism and the Philosophical Tradition, Englewood Cliffs, N. J. Prentice-Hall, 1990. Religious Requirements and Practice.

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