How Artist Parents are Taking Advantage of the Shutdown

I am now pretty mature. I’ve got the grey hair and bad knees that attest to that. But I too was young and in school at one time. I even spent some time in the Halls of Higher Education. You know those years beyond high school.

Those years in the sixties were supposed to propel me to greater things and life-long career directions/ambitions. Well they did that but in unexpected ways. I actually did end up having a reasonably successful career. But the end result was not one any of us had expected.

One of the significant things I remember about those formative years was a tongue-in-cheek saying that was bandied about: “Don’t let school interfere with your Education!” As a (then) latent iconoclast this saying just instinctively appealed to me. I must have practiced that underlying philosophy (I am sure) to the dismay of my parents and others close to me.

I came out of that experience not much the worse for wear. No I did not do drugs. I did not go to Woodstock even though that particular weekend I was only about 130 miles away from Yasgur’s Farm. But I did handcraft a Peace symbol that I hung from the mirror in my 1970 Barracuda. And I do still love the idealism of the time as expressed in Joni Mitchell’s song about it even though she never actually made it to the Festival:

…Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden…….

Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Joni Mitchell Woodstock lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Shaun Leonardo and Mckendree Key paint on tree bark with their children in Vermont during quarantine. (photo courtesy Mckendree Key)

Please let me apologize here for the above digression which was intended to be scene-setting and introductory about my personal mind-set and philosophy not to mention my motivation for this blog posting.

You as parents have a massive and immense opportunity here to reset and re-calibrate all of the conventional assumptions about education! Because of COVID-19 we are forced to stay at home. The circumstances have forced us to assume our parental responsibilities by home-schooling our children and by taking a leading role in how we wish our off-spring to develop their talents.

Rosenthal’s children paint on the sidewalk (image courtesy Mia Rosenthal)

Here is an article on how a group of artist-parents have assumed this role and what some of the results have been. I am not an artist. All I ever did was mess around with photography in the darkroom doing pictures for the school newspaper and yearbook. I don’t think I would ever be able to inspire my child to these high levels. But the important thing is that you and I enable them and provide them the encouragement to explore their innate creativity.

“The weavings are the kind of thing you can just add to whenever you want. The kids bring in natural materials like flowers and plants and we weave them in. We are using found string and yarn and also ordered wool roving from Etsy that we add in. I weave with a color and as I go; the kids can decide to change the color or add wool or other materials as we go. When I make the weavings I think constantly about the person the weaving is for. By the end, I am sure all that thinking imbues the weaving with some sense of that person.” —Mckendree Key

Do you really think that Tchaikovsky Rembrandt and van Gogh’s parents were equipped to match the talents of the immature capabilities of their young children? Yet somehow look at what the world gained from the formative years of these massive artists? Somehow both parents and children managed to move ahead through the turbulent childhood years into their artistically productive adulthood.

Here is the URL that will tell you the complete story:

During Pandemic, Artist-Parents Reflect and Get Creative With Their Kids

I think we need to get back to the Garden!

Published by Resources 4 Teachers & Parents

Resources 4 Teachers is an education website that provides material, activities, lesson plans, books and videos created by teachers for teachers, students and parents.

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