Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Make, play and resist.

The Wall St. Journal has an article suggesting that toddlers learn when they play. It strikes me as odd that anyone would have to be told this. And yet, out of misguided concern for our children, we script each moment of their young lives, depriving them of the creativity and deep engagement that is available to them through their hands. We script our own lives in the same manner. The article concludes with the following:
The inspirational sayings about play you find on the internet—“play is the work of childhood” or “play is the best form of research,” for example—aren’t just truisms. They may actually be truths.
 The first of the chosen quotes is from Maria Montessori. The second from Albert Einstein. That the author of the article chose to leave the important point as questionable by use of the word "may" is absurd. (the emphasis in the quote is mine) In fact, I am willing to go so far myself as to state that even adults learn most efficiently through play, and that it's our most effective means of feeling and expressing our own creative power. But then perhaps in a world moving toward authoritarianism, personal creative power is of least concern.

Here in the US, we are moving rapidly toward a constitutional crisis as the Trump presidency proves to be as inept as many of us knew it would be in the first place. The conservatives are seemingly pleased to keep backing Trump as he serves as their convenient wrecking ball to attack the EPA, and social programs in the US. He does the things that they want to do but are fearful of doing themselves. But he will keep doing stupid things until even the Republicans lose tolerance. The question of course is what price we will pay.

In the meantime, and on a more personal level, to make things of useful beauty is an act of resistance.  While much of the world is enamored with Trumpian grandiosity, to find simple pleasure in the work at hand is a wholesome thing, that benefits our families, our communities and nation as well as our sense and state of mind. As craftsmen and makers in America, we persist and we resist.

Today a good friend of mine and I will pick up and deliver more tools to the new ESSA wood shop. The photo above is from a class of mine at Marc Adams School of Woodworking. Even adults of advancing age learn through play.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment