When the title of this February 18th Sunday New York Times article caught my eye, I was immediately drawn to it. Such a simple statement connecting two important educable topics. One which has been dealt with reasonably well by the NEA (National Education Association) for over 100 years – Sex Education (believe or not since 1892!!) and the other which has been nearly ignored because it is either considered taboo to talk about let alone to be part of any education curriculum – Death Education.

The author of the article, Jessica Nutik Zitter, practices critical care and palliative medicine at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA. She took on her daughter’s 7th grade sex education class five years ago with great success by simply getting directly to the point, starting with anatomical vocabulary. Dr. Zitter, drawing upon her vast experience as a critical care and palliative medicine expert, asked herself why not teach Death Education beginning at early ages just like Sex Education?

Dr. Zitter rapidly brings into sharp focus how “death is as equally important a stage of life” as being born and engaging in sexual relations and “one for which the consequences of poor preparedness are as bad, arguably worse”.

Her article goes on to explain how she taught “Death Education” to 9th grade students, how the students processed what they were hearing, jumped in with questions and did not run screaming from the room. Indeed, they “talked openly about their own preferences around death”.

This 5 minute read could (should?) result in several hours of some very deep thinking and perhaps move us all toward taking on the topic of death as part of life.

Please follow this link to the article: