Wednesday, January 26, 2011

the hands and national will

Last night I watched the American President's State of the Union address and the Republican and Tea-party responses. The following is from Felix Adler, 1888, in his explanation of the value of manual training.
"I wish to add a few words touching the influence of manual training on character in general, and its importance for children of all classes of society. I need not here speak of the value of manual training to the artisan class. That has been amply demonstrated of late by the many technical and art schools which the leading manufacturing nations of Europe have established and are establishing. I need not speak of the value of manual training to the future surgeon, dentist, scientist, and to all those who require deftness of hand in the pursuit of their vocations. But I do wish to speak of the value of manual training to the future lawyer and clergyman and to all those who will perhaps never be called upon to labor with their hands. Precisely because they will not labor with their hands is manual training so important for them--in the interest of an all-round culture--in order that they may not be entirely crippled on one side of their nature. The Greek legend says that the giant Antæus was invincible so long as his feet were planted on the solid earth. We need to have a care that our civilization shall remain planted on solid earth. There is a danger lest it may be developed too much into the air--that we may become too much separated from those primal sources of strength from which mankind has always drawn its vitality."
Adler had begun his remarks with an investigation in how manual training can help a child develop will. Manual training is also connected to the development of national will. Leaving potential business leaders, lawyers, and those who would run our political institutions untrained in hands-on creative activities, has left them crippled in perspective, leading to a lack of will for the things that would have given our nation its greatest strength. How can they wisely invest in that of which they know nothing? In the state of the union addresses last night, one side sees a role of the American government in fostering economic growth and the other is abhorrent toward that notion. The out of touch politicians in Washington will fight over their airy ideological perspectives until the cows come home while the American people become further crippled by a lack of national will. Take the future in your hands. Make, fix, create. DIY, TIY.

Today in the Clear Spring school wood shop, students continued work on their model t-rex dinosaurs. The first round of finished t-rex's is shown below

1 comment:

Marc said...

Washington continues to grow farther out of touch with the average American and what the country needs to get it back on track. As an example, why are they trying to cut funding to PBS and NPR yet they ramrodded through an extension of the tax cuts for the nations wealthiest Americans? They are willing to slash and burn social programs so they can stuff greenbacks in pockets of rich fat-cats. I don't get it. Our government needs an enema.