Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Playing to Learn to Be

I'm a Libra. I don't take much stock in the star-business, but I love having something to blame for indecisiveness. Or, rather, my all-encompassingness. My search for balance. My hunger. To taste everything, see everything, know as much as I can about way more than I possibly can. My capacity to see from a thousand angles. Sympathies and empathies.
This is nebulous, I'm sorry. I wrestle.
Elliott Smith isn't helping. But, wow. So pretty (Angel in the Snow).
I had this conversation with a dear friend today. I miss her so. We can describe a thing and the other knows just exactly what she means. I love so much when I meet a friend like that. That just knows. We talked about church and wanting to want to go, and when finally the weight of not going makes us go, it's always just the thing. And why do we fight it? We just do.
This post started it. And for those of you who are lucky or disciplined enough to not get sucked into the vortex that is the internet- the subject is titled "less advocacy, more action" and it's an open discussion about the responsibility of parents and educators to not wait for federal funding and political policy to make room for the arts in public education, but rather, become the change they wish to see on a local level. Be it volunteering your own time and resources, or perhaps, teach your own. I do a lot of ranting. I'm an idealist. A romantic. I have some very concrete ideas about "how it should be". But I have no future in lobbying (I can hardly think of a bigger waste of time and money). I did take an online grantwriting course, and even that seemed a little cantankerous. An impatient idealist. The worst kind.

And then. I read this post, by yet another dear friend. The kind that knows you, that loves you even though she knows you. Even though she knows what kind of ridiculous temper-tantrums you throw when she buys the thing at the thrift store that you wanted, but knew would look cuter on her.
I digress.
She talks about community. About finding it even when it takes a lot more courage than you care to muster. And she speaks of the source in her in case, her now-3-year-old son.

Children have an uncanny ability to awaken a bravery and determination once unknown.
All this to tell you that, when I am with the kiddos, I try to have some activities planned. But I have a very, very hard time bringing them to the table when they are so engrossed in play. Just free-play. Sometimes they are mom and dad and baby. Often they are kitties or dinosaurs. Sometime cheerleaders and businessmen. Shop-owners, chefs or doctors.
I love this.
Only when they ask to watch TV or specifically request a craft, do I bring out the "plan". Otherwise, I think they are learning an incredible lot by working it out in their own way. Sharing. Raging, forgiving, giving shots, cooking meals, teaching classes, going to work...
Being people.
It's our job to be the people we know we are, the one's we know we are meant to be. Our job here is to become that person and to make the changes we see fit, within ourselves and among the community we know. It is most comfortable to presume that we are here doing our thing as individuals. But we are more than we might think. We are that proverbial stone tossed in the water.
We (and really, I am talking to myself here) must invest ourselves. Wholly. In the dreams we have, and the truth we know, and the beauty we long for.

Yes. We painted with fettucine. And it was fun.


Eralda LT said...

So inspiring and challenging at once!

I agree that it is best to let them play and figure out their time on their own. Kids are so good at that. But, goodness, painting with fetuccine? That's so creative, which does not shock me, just drops my jaw a few inches closer to the floor. I will give this craft a go with Jack. I bet he'll love it.

Bryan Tarpley said...

"We ... must invest ourselves. Wholly. In the dreams we have, and the truth we know, and the beauty we long for."

Amen. I've been forgetting this. It's so easy to be lulled into routine, into "comfort," into forgetting what it was you dreamt in the first place.

Sunny said...

http://www.positiveculturecompany.com/kids/1-%20Recipe/Spaghetti%20Painting.htm If you want directions. We didn't really do it like that because some monkeys claim that they don't like their hands in the paint. Hence the paintbrushes. But, inevitably, he ends up painting his hand.

Maryl said...

why do I often have to wipe my eyes after I read your blog? ... and it's not just sentimentality caused by the large margarita I just consumed (in Mexico of course). You are brilliant (and I am prejudiced).

Anonymous said...

you are so darn cool.....