Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Widening a narrow path...

As we close the year 2011 and consider what we wish might come next, and what we might become next, I would like to spend a few days laying out breadcrumbs that might be followed to a new American century of craftsmanship.
"When a man teaches his son no trade, it is as if he taught him highway robbery." Talmud
and to that, I would add, when a man teaches his son or daughter no art, he has blocked the door to the kingdom of heaven.

We all need ways to make an honest living. We each need ways to discover true self. One path fills the larder, the other elevates the soul.

Living in my small town of Eureka Springs offers evidence of a path forward.  I have been lucky to make my living from a thing that I love.  But I have friends whose lives are just as rich as mine, who have dual roles, one more practical and the other in the arts. Cynthia is an APN at our local medical center. When she's not seeing patients, she does incredible oil pastels. Ken serves at a fine restaurant, and plays classical violin. Nick is a carpenter but also a singer/songwriter.  Jim graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts, became a shop keeper and now with 3 stores and a gallery has returned to crafting his own exquisite work. The list here goes on and on, and for the new year, my wish is that for all America, the example served by my own small community could widen the narrow path.

Can you see what's happening here? It is called enrichment. It serves the pocketbook, the soul and the community. These persons, each pursuing both vocation and avocation are not simply community servants, but also have great stature within the community achieved through performance and discipline in the arts.

Doesn't this make you wonder why we would choose to ignore the arts in our nation's schools and lay such extreme emphasis on standardized tests?

As I was driving the the post office this morning, I listened to Performance Today on National Public Radio, and the interview with Charlie Albright, young Harvard pianist, spoke directly to the point of today's post. Albright pointed out that everything he's done has built depth in his study of piano. If he were not so successful a musician he would be describing how music has brought such depth to his engagement in everything else.

Make, fix and create...

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