Friday, April 4, 2014

Art Participation

                On Monday, a college student stopped by the house.  He asked me to edit a paper he had due for educational psychology.  About twenty years ago, I took the same type of class.  I forgot how fired up I can still get when discussing education.  I only taught for three years, but my passion still resides in my heart.  The topic of the paper was art.

                I believe our education system does a disservice to the discipline of any form of art: writing, music, painting, welding, and the list can go on.  Through all my years of art class and music, I was never taught how I can express the creativity in these areas for the remainder of my life outside the classroom.  Granted, I listen to music and sing in the church congregation, but I never learned the ability to play on my own or with a band.  I watched my son go through band and his teacher taught them to do just that.  In fact, one of my son’s classmates is excited for when he goes to college so the two of them can start playing their gigs again.  With my daughter, I am helping her learn by the instructor I hired.  She will soon be playing guitar for our church.  Hopefully both my children will continue on with music more then I have.

                Growing up, I always felt like a failure at art.  My entire educational career, I only once felt like I created something beautiful and that was a project we did with lines.  I actually received an A and it looked better then all my classmates.  Thus, when friends of mine comment that I am an artist, I laugh.  Not me.  I did horrible in art class.  Yet, if I am honest with myself, I am very artistic in interior design, gardening, and crafting.  Unfortunately, we are not taught to appreciate, succeed, or grow in these areas through the education system.  How did I reach my success?  I have watched hours of design and gardening shows on the Home and Garden network.  (I am sad to say that I don’t like the programming as much in the last five years.  They have turned to huge construction projects or buying and selling.  I like the easy programming that an amateur like myself can complete.)  They gave me the courage to try the work on my own.  I have had some whopping failures, but through those failures I have learned and grown. 

                Hum, that is another lesson I wish was taught.  We need to learn how to fail.  When I was young, I stopped participating in what I failed at or was mediocre at even if I loved the task.  I stopped playing basketball and volleyball because I was not athletic enough to make the teams.  I also feared criticism because I grew up with the impression that everything has to be perfect or it shouldn’t even be attempted.  Why do we have to be good/perfect at something to continue studying and participating in that activity/sport?

                The answer is we don’t have to be good.  I look around my house at the painting I have accomplished.  I see a lot of flaws.  I won’t be an interior design professional, but it will continue to be a major hobby.  Some people in my life delight in pointing out the flaws.  I either ignore them or make the statement that I saved a chunk of cash because I did it myself and had fun.  I also pity those people because they will never know the joy of accomplishing a project and seeing how they become better at the work as times goes by.  Other people compliment me.  I appreciate these people tremendously.  They are positive and see the value in the process.

                I have worked at teaching my children the value of attempting tasks and having a blast even if they are not very good.  Will my daughter play college softball?  I don’t know nor care.  I care that she plays on the city team when she is forty.  Will my son become the next Louis Armstrong?  It doesn’t matter.  I do want to hear him play when I am sixty.  Will my oldest become the next Bobby Flay?  Who cares?  I just want him to continue to enjoy his passion even if he burns a dish. 

Life is about the creative journey.  What is your passion?  Go out and participate!

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