Sunday, December 07, 2008

starting conversations.

One more thing I want to mention that I've been thinking about lately is that we need to start conversations with those we love about how the hands of their children are put into play (and learning). Last April at a conference, I met a woman who told me that she had bought tools for her grandson, but that her daughter-in-law wouldn't let them in the house. Three things. First she was afraid the child would damage one of her precious possessions, secondly, he would make a mess, third and worst, she was afraid he might be encouraged to become a tradesman.

The value of the hands in learning and culture has been actively denegrated since before the time of Socrates. And things don't just change over night. I have asked the Provost of Columbia University to consider an affirmative education program on behalf of the hands. They are willing to teach Socrates, but how about offering an opportunity to develop a sense of dignity for all labor? But people are unlikely to respond before they see the ground swelling beneath their feet. You can help. We can create an uprising.

Please join me in starting conversations with those you love about what the hands really do for us: how they restore sense, sensibility and balance to our lives. All children need the opportunity to explore the world at their own fingertips, to learn what it takes to develop skill. Each should have the opportunity to gain a sense of the value and dignity of all labor. If we don't have these conversations, we will have idiot parents, concerned more about their furnishings than the emotional and intellectual strengths of their own children.

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