Sunday, June 7, 2015

Life lesson number one...make time to play!

Open studio drawing on First Friday in the Journey Art Gallery classroom.

Every month our visitor amaze me! The question this past First Friday and the responses it generated should be a wake-up call to parents, teachers, administrators and those in government who think they know what is best to teach and test in our schools. The question was:  Name a subject, skill or topic you feel should be a mandatory requirement to graduate High School. Reading the list of answers, we seem to be failing our young people big time as far as preparing them to become adults. If these products of our educational system go on to become teachers themselves, without the skills we feel they need to know, when will the cycle be broken so it can be “fixed” with the information in place to make our world better? 

Back in the 1970’s, programs were added to our schools that fell under some type of classification whose content included practical life skills. Not woodshop or home economics type of information (still divided by gender in those days…no girls in woodshop which is where I wanted to be), but programs for students whose plans did not include continuing on to college. Programs such as these taught the stuff all of us should have learned before putting on that cap and gown (which in my case was a bright gold so I looked an oversized banana). Back in the day, our parents were still involved, but not helicopters or bulldozers by any means. They set examples of how to go to work, keep a house, maintain friendships, step in with advice but get out of the way when we had to fight our own battles, watched our grades, but not harass our teachers and so on. Somewhere along the lines, that system fell apart and a subject of some of my past postings so no repeat rantings here. (You’re welcome)

64 answers to our question were actually written onto the chalkboards, but I overheard many more say that their choice was already on the board so they did not contribute. It may be time to allow for tally marks to indicate repeats.  Before I get to the list however, a few sentences about our Community Participation Project and upcoming events related to them.

The project this month was to create a fusion of colors and shapes as determined by the numbers that turned up on three dice. (Yes, I know that “dice” is not the plural form, but the plural is awkward and not used by most people so I will suffer the grammatical wounds and use the more plebeian tense.) Each month I learn more about how people think and how much joy they get from doing something so simple but that can have a big impact. When limited to one shape and a specific number of them, decisions held greater importance. If given an unlimited number and choice of any shapes, participants were not as invested in their overall location…the restriction of these options became a personal design challenge and created a sense of belonging to a greater whole. Simple lessons were learned….some people can’t let go of the grid, some don’t want their piece touching others, colors appear to change sometimes, optical illusions are created, edges are sacred…..the power of a little piece of paper! The final product is a dazzling neon fusion unachievable by any planned process. It had to grow organically and haphazardly over a period of hours.

All of our projects (the stick figures, the jelly-wish, the heArt attack, the loom weaving (now finished to 9 x 3.5 feet off the frame), the great square inches, the fusion and many, many Pollock pieces) will be on sale starting June 27th and continuing through mid-July, to raise money to fund more projects.  Our July project will be outside as the Snarky Studio will be filled with about 23 or so of Hoard Couture dress series. Now on to the answers!

Name a subject, skill or topic you feel should be a mandatory requirement to graduate High School.
I have tried to divide these in to relevant categories….

Traditional: how to spell (2 votes) – be able to read – handwriting 101 – primary English speaker – cosmetology – roman numerals – cursive – speaking – more math – art history/appreciation – art (2) – theater – play an instrument – learn guitar – US citizenship

Personal: meditation – self love – self control – self respect – yoga

Practical: vaccinations – drive a stick shift – boil water – know how to swim – drive safely – spend a week in the woods exploring – stand up comedy

Financial: banking – value of one cent – self-sufficiency – balance a checkbook – live within means – credit management – money management – budgeting – financial independence -  make change for a dollar (without the use of calculator or device…math done by brain power)

Social Skills: kindness to animals – how to be a good listener - how to keep quiet when necessary – both sides of an argument – sense of humor – that success takes time – time management – tolerance – grace – manners – social skills – common sense 101 – morals – patience (2) – responsibility – respect

Adulthood: parenting (2) – how to be an adult – sexuality and genders  - change a diaper – relationship skills – alternatives to abstinence – spend time with and respect elders

All good answers and observations. Thank you to all who come by to participate and play.