Why I Bother
Wait, don't run....
I know, the first word that comes to mind when you think of me is "joiner".
Frankly, I both dread these meetings and look forward to them. Most of the ladies are smart, dynamic, creative, and resourceful. I like to work with them, and I like the socializing after business has concluded.
But, as with any group of women, power struggles inevitably arise. Feathers are ruffled. A to-do ensues. I really hate that shit.
And sometimes, I feel like the odd woman out because a lot of my beliefs differ vastly from the majority. I'm a liberal fish swimming in conservative waters.
But I've learned to enjoy the good and ignore the bad, and for the most part, my stint as Arts In Education Chairperson has been satisfying and enjoyable. At the very least it gives me an opportunity to think, plan, create. I get to use my brain.
Not much of that happenin' when I have my head in a toilet, yannow?
So anyway, at each board meaning, the President asks one person to do an invocation.
That sounds very straight laced and grown-up, doesn't it? And sort of ominous too.
But really, it's just a way to start the meeting on a positive note. Some people read quotes, some share personal experiences, some ((sigh)) read scripture. And though it's trite and cliched, I often find myself responding with a warm fuzzy feeling, which is, of course, the intent.
No, the Blog Antagonist is not immune to all that yoo rah rah women rock bullshit. I buy it; hook line and sinker. Is that so bad?
So today was my turn. Gah.
I'm not a public speaker. I can write anything you ask me to write, but speak? No thanks. People look at you when you speak, which is not my thing at all. I'd rather sit unobtrusively in the back row and listen quietly.
"What am I supposed to SAY??" I asked the president.
"Anything! You have so much to say about so many things! Just pick one!"
"You are no help." I accused.
"You are such a baby. Alright. Howbout....you talk about your passion for Arts In Education? I know you have something to say about that."
"Alright. But I'm not promising greatness."
"I need five minutes. It doesn't have to be the Gettysburg address."
I started with a quote by Sir Ken Robinson...
"We are not educating children into creativity, we are educating them out of it."
I explained who Sir Ken Robinson is, and the basis of his beliefs regarding education.
I shared some statistics. I told a cute little anecdote about Diminutive One, who will always choose something creative over something academic, and frequently gets in trouble for it.
I closed with one of my favorite quotes by artist Wassily Kandinsky...
"There is no must in art, because Art is free"
I tried to impress that these programs are vital to our childrens' education and why. And that we shouldn't let budget cuts and economic hardship further decrease the number of arts and enrichment programs that we are providing our children.
As I said, I'm not a public speaker, and I stumbled a little bit. The President smiled her encouragement and I felt like a child being bouyed by maternal benevolence as she struggles to recite an unfamiliar poem or verse.
I finished, relieved.
Afterwards, several people came up to me to ask me more about Ken Robinson, and where they could learn more about his platform. I explained the best I could, but felt I wasn't doing his brilliance justice. I wish I could have just shown them this:
It's twenty minutes long, but it's worth it.
And then ACT.
Because our children are being shortchanged, people. You don't have to be an activist, or a philanthropist or a humanitarian. You don't need a lofty title or a sophisticated agenda.
You just need to care that children's souls are being fed along with their minds. You just need to care that we teach our children to embrace their unique gifts, to trust in their own instincts, to love who they are, and to thrive within the realm of their own greatness.
Is there a parent among us who doesn't?
Right. Then go forth and volunteer. Here are some statistics to help you make your point.
A comprehensive Arts education helps children:
- Learn more effectively in all areas of curriculum, including math and science.
- Experience greater understanding of what they learn.
- Score higher on all aspects of the SAT.
- Achieve higher levels of academic success in collegiate and post-graduate studies.
Young people involved in the Arts are:
- Four times more likely to win an academic award.
- Eight times more likely to receive a community service award.
- Three times more likely to win a school attendance award
- Four times more likely to participate in a math or science fair.
And yet...only 36% of American Students are getting the recommended mimimum of one hour per week of Arts instruction.
That's not acceptable.