1. This generation will change the world. How do I know this? If you listen, even teenagers will talk…about life, hope for the world, problems we never experienced in our childhoods, and fears of facing it all alone. As our lives speed up, it's hard to justify allowing ourselves TIME to just sit and listen to each other. Maybe we should write it in our planners. Or add it to our lesson plans. Or Twitter: What are you doing today? LISTENING.
2. Relish your place in the arts. Relish the art in you. This summer we discovered that doing so eliminates stage fright, writer's block, and so many other creative obstacles. Just DO it–Enjoy the feeling of creating, of tuning into the medium of your choice (painting, writing, music–not the psychic kind–although it sometimes feels that way, doesn't it?), of listening (hmmm there it is again), and taking creative risks. Relishing frees you to create!
3. The arts keep us alive! Literally and figuratively. One jam-packed week at Sugarloaf helps our campers (and staff–me included!) survive the craziness of the real world. Art, theater, dance, video, writing, photography, music teach problem solving and communication. The power to inform and entertain,the power to change opinions, get people talking, expose injustice, explore solutions, make friends, learn co-existence, and the joy of diversity. Teachers–Be subversive! Let's find ways to sneak the arts back into our curriculum. Sing the spelling lists! Act out the Pythagorean theorem! Sketch, dance–yeah you get the picture…
4. The arts help us PLAY. Today's kids want knowledge. Anything that will give them the edge, the keys to success NOW. Many have so much going on in their lives they have no time to play. Or relax. Enjoy the here and now. To quiet ambition. The arts help us take the time. Those who write, paint, dance, CREATE in any art form, know that somehow in this often dark and crazy universe, we will be OK.
Lucky me–I have another summer of Sugarloaf stored in my heart.
PS–Happy Back to School, teachers! A Zen saying for us all: "A wise man does not teach the end, he teaches the way, and he is not too serious about that."