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Youth Development’s Hippocratic Oath

Youth Development’s Hippocratic Oath

Editor’s Note: this blog is used with permission from the author. It was first published on October 14th, 2016 at 

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In 1964, Louis Lasagna, the academic dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, looked at the work of Hippocrates and crafted the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath that is used in many medical schools today.  This galvanizing text is used as a declaration for the medical field to rally behind. Its purpose is to contextualize the responsibility doctors face as well as serve as a reminder of the importance this profession holds.

There is no such oath in the field of education or youth development. It is my belief that our profession is just as important and perhaps more important than any other profession one can hold.  Education, in all its forms, transforms individuals and provides the opportunity to explore our world in different ways. It does not matter what profession you hold – at one time you were a student and you had a teacher or mentor. If you are committed to galvanizing our profession as one that is responsible for the development of our future I encourage you to read and commit to, The Hippocratic Oath of Youth Development.

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

  • I will respect the hard-won experiential gains of those educators and youth developers in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is with those who are to follow.
  • I will apply, for the benefit of those who are under-represented and those whose voice is unheard, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of excessive hand-holding and programmatic negligence.
  • I will remember that there is art to education as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the curriculum’s guide or the “expert’s” intervention.
  • I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a student’s assistance in growth.
  • I will respect the privacy of my students, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of success and the opportunity for new growth to success. If it is given me to promote a student’s success, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to identify an opportunity for a student’s growth; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play judge and jury.
  • I will remember that I do not support a test score, a “troubled child,” but a growing human being, whose trials may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems if I am to support adequately for all students.
  • I will prevent the following of a dangerous path whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
  • I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
  • If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of teaching and educating those who seek my help.

Adapted from the modern Hippocratic Oath Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.

I skipped breakfast as I’m intermittent fasting.  But I’ll break my fast with a chocolate protein shake with cinnamon. 

Author: @rodrigoarancibia

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