What kind of world do we live in now that no one bothers to tell another human being to have a nice day? ... Good manners can make someone's day, so let's all just give it a go. I'm sure we'll feel much better about ourselves as a result, and the world will probably be much nicer.
Most of us in the UK have an idea of what an American summer camp is like: swimming, hi- jinks, Patrick Swayze in 'Dirty Dancing'. So when I was approached to teach Mindfulness in Schools Project's '.b' at a family camp in New Hampshire this August, I was intrigued... How would the two experiences mix together?
Mindfulness is not enough on its own; it is no silver bullet. Schools are complex places and people more complex still - teachers, pupils and parents alike. Mindfulness must be part of a broader pastoral net, not only in terms of social and emotional learning, but also child protection.
An hour teaching teenagers who don't want to be there something they don't want to learn is never pleasant... A few things tend to raise their curiosity: that they can physically change their brain; that mindfulness is used by top sportsmen and musicians; that it might help with their exams or, at the very least, help them worry less about their exams.
Why is it called .b? The red 'dot' of the logo stands for STOP - like a red light. And the 'b' is saying BE. So .b is inviting those in schools - toddlers, teens and teachers alike, to 'stop and be'. Just for a moment.
Because there is no public overseer, there is no one to take genuinely impartial responsibility for making sure that employment figures are accurate. The result is that thousands of students a year could be relying on misrepresented information to make one of the most important decisions in their lives.
In the next few weeks, there will be new wave of 18-year-old youngsters beginning one of the most important and challenging chapters in their lives. I'm sure the stresses are beginning for the eager youths, seeking to get away from their family homes to start university
Our decision on 18 September is one of the utmost importance. It is perhaps the most important political choice we will have the power to make in our lifetimes... some of the things we believe that this debate is not about; points which should no longer be allowed to dominate discussion and which can, at their worst, serve to obscure the true nature of the choice we are making.
Houses boarded up, a mixture of soggy bits of paper, puke and cigarette butts carpeting the streets, people in all kinds of bad states passed out in shop fronts if they were lucky... That's the sight I was met with when I arrived at the Notting Hill Carnival in the early afternoon of Bank Holiday Monday.
The problem with feminism isn't with the idea itself, but everything that surrounds it. From the misunderstanding of what the term actually means, to the idea that it is only for women. In fact, feminism is a threat to the way things have been for centuries, one which affects the demographic I belong to particularly: the white, straight, middle-class male.
I'd never wanted anything like I wanted to be a writer. I remember spending whole days sitting around and moping about how I'd never be good enough/would never manage it/would never get to be an actual writer. I realise now that this was somewhat pathetic... but it did half lead to some very vague experiences of publishers before the competition.
Very few weeks have the same mythological status as freshers' week. You'll meet your new Best Friends Forever. You'll be out every night. You'll make stories you'll dine out on for years. You'll end up with one eyebrow. You'll have lots of excellent and sexy sex with people you've only just met. It'll be wild. It'll be great. Except that's not what freshers' week is like for most people.
Sexual assault, peer pressure and female objectification are far from humorous. Satire isn't satire when it's kicking down another group. It only creates a bad perspective for incoming students of student life and a bad image of current students, implying this is what everyone's freshers was like and therefore yours should be too.
GCSE results alone provide a narrow and confusing measure of success with no real consideration of the overall benefits to children of their time at school... under new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, there is a real opportunity to take an approach which not only provides a strong academic grounding but also instils character values in students.
With GCSE and A-Level results fresh in the hands of thousands of young people in the UK this week, it's important for students and their parents to be aware of the wide spectrum of available options. University will rightly continue to be a place for generations to continue their education, but it's naive to think of it as a 'one stop shop' for getting onto the career ladder.
Only 17% of graduates feel prepared for their first job. Isn't school about preparing young people for real life? ... Let's promote an education system that encourages young people to grow and assume their personality... Personality versus diplomas: who wins ?