Friday, December 04, 2015

the exercise of the creative faculty

Yesterday, a group of my older students gathered in the wood shop during lunch, asking that they be allowed to stay. They insisted that they preferred the wood shop to the playground, and they each had goals to accomplish that required tools and the space to work.

As I was working on other things, and not watching the time, I allowed them to stay until recess was over and their teacher came looking for them. I insisted they not miss geography.

The following is from Susan Blow's Symbolic Education.
The most obvious correspondence between the unfolding of the mind and the growth of organisms is that in both the condition of development is exercise of power. Use and disuse, long since recognized in the parable of the talents as the sources of spiritual gain and loss, have in our day come to be insisted upon as the sources of all gain and all loss. Use gives the blacksmith his brawny arm, the musician his nimble and flexible fingers, and the thinker his power of marshaling at will the battalions of his ideas. Disuse takes from the caged bird the power of flight, from the sedentary student the vigor of his limbs, from the man who indolently refuses to think and act the power of thought and action. Pestalozzi struck the keynote of educational reform when he wrote, in the Evening Hour of a Hermit: "Nature develops all the powers of humanity by exercising them; they increase with use."

In the formative instinct of childhood Froebel discerned an analogous attempt of mind to stamp itself upon its environment. The child is constantly trying either to change something or to make something. This persistent effort hints to us that mind is something more than an intellectual stomach. Knowledge is food, but creation is life, and we do not live to eat, but eat to live.
It is fascinating how little time in most schools is devoted to our children's creative and formative capacities. The old saying, "use it or lose it" applies.

Make, fix, create, and inspire others to learn likewise.

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