Art and culture are blatantly missing from our daily lives. The details of life have become a quagmire that sucks us in and will not let us take a breath. We are too worried about the future, too distraught over newspaper headlines, and so busy getting through the day, that we cannot let our minds occupy any lighter thought.
Schools do not teach music and art the way they once did. Educators have sacrificed the finer things in life in order to increase the potential earning power of our children. There is no more time for dreaming the ethereal dreams of childhood, as we competitively push our kids toward some imaginary finish line.
The beauty is still there, it is still abundant in everyday life, but most adult minds are too distracted and fragmented to see it. We are busy thinking about the rest of the day, the week or the years ahead to see what is right before our eyes.
Children see things differently. They still have the ability to absorb the little details, because their worlds rotate slower than ours do, that is when we allow them to.
I learned a lesson about this very thing, during a routine visit to the doctor with my youngest son Noah.
Noah and I were sitting in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office for what seemed an interminably long time. My mind was a million miles away as usual, when Noah pointed at the wall in front of us and said…
“Look mom, the Doctor put up new pictures.”
I looked at the wall he was pointing to, and noticed the Disney posters which had adorned the wall on previous visits, were gone. The office replaced them with prints of artwork created by M.C. Escher.
I responded with, “So he has.”
I had not even noticed the change until Noah mentioned it, but now with my interest sparked, I looked a little closer at the prints, and they were really quite captivating. One was Hand with Reflecting Sphere, 1935, the other one, Reptiles, 1943.
I asked my son to look at the Sphere print, and describe to me what he saw.
“Uhh… it looks like a hand holding a ball.”
I told him he was right, but there was more to it than that, I told him to look more closely. Then he said…
“Oh! It’s a man, and he’s looking at himself in the ball.”
I know my opinion is prejudicial, but I thought that was a very astute observation, considering he was only four or five at the time.
We spent a few more minutes discussing the two pictures. We talked about what we saw in them and wondered about the artist who made them. How does someone’s imagination create such wonders? It is important to think about such things, and the conversations I have with my kids at impromptu moments such as this, never disappoint me.
Life can be dark and it can be heavy. Art and music help to make it light.
Lessons learned from a child can be the most important lessons of all… but you have to be willing to listen. I'm so glad I listened that day.
©2008 Kristina-with a-K