"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


So what is most important?

Hey, J--

Can we talk for a minute about what's most important?  I have ideas, but not answers--and I'd like to hear what you think.  How about it?

Been thinking about how much  time  we spend, worrying over test scores and pondering big budget issues.  Trying to figure out how to use the ponderous textbooks: those one-size-doesn't-fit-us packets of learning which talk big and deliver small.

Thinking about the food we offer to kids at school:  heavily processed food that's laced with sweeteners.
Noticing how closely the decline in play time correlates with the decline in attention span.

What do we do, J?

Work harder?

Most teachers--at least at my school, which is one of the best I've been at-- --most of our staff care deeply about each child.

Most already  spend many hours in preparation: 7AM until 5pm is the norm....with many staying even later or coming in on the weekends, working to have the materials ready and the myriad details smoothed out, so that each day will hold solid learning and also fun, for our kids.

Fun for the staff, too: this is a labor of love, if ever there was one.  

So what's the answer, J?

How in the world do we address the quickly multiplying needs of our kids?  How do we feed them meals for the mind and nourishment for the body, which will encourage and sustain their growth?

It feels overwhelming sometimes.  The odd thing is, all of that extra time--time spent worrying, time spent working longer hours--it doesn't seem to be the key.  Sometimes, I'm wondering if the secret is something else entirely.

It gets frustrating sometimes.

OK, J.  I hear you:  I should try following  Maria Rainer Rilke's advice--"live the questions and the answers will follow".
One day, one child, one song, one story, one science experiment: one thing at a time.

Be present now, and focus on pursuing excellence, in that moment and in that activity.  For those children.

For all of us.

OK. I'll try.      ---Thanks, J.------

More, later.

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