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This is what I believe - Art can do it (long)


From: Judy Decker (jdecker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Jul 21 2003 - 22:08:55 PDT

THANK YOU all for allowing me to find joy in what I did for eleven
years and reflect...... I won't talk like this when all of you are busy.
(World list, I haven't shared as much with you)

July is my month to think....I think too much sometimes. I know you don't
mind. This is my last post for today.

I believe that through art we can bring about peace. That is a dream of
It starts in our own classroom. We have peace in our classroom. We have a
"culture" that can talk freely about our concerns and come to consensus. We
have mutual respect in the classroom. We have an art room culture that has
respect and understanding for beliefs and values of other cultures. Religion
is a way in which a culture makes sense of the world. Religion is people's
beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a
deity or deities, and divine involvement in the universe and human life.
Different cultures see the world different ways. Forcing one religion on
another has done great harm over the years to many people. We need to open
the eyes of the child to see the good in ALL religions. We need them to see
that a the religion is not "bad" - people are. We have the opportunity in
Art to get some of these ideas across to students.....We can give the ideas
that connect all religions - give them the common truths in what is good.
Much of the art in the world today is about religion.
Build values around those commons ideas - We can not teach the children what
to believe (although there are those who do want to know what they believe -
I did have a student ask me what he believed - and I told him to talk to his
parents) - but we can teach them the GOOD. Once students learn the good -
and learn to be good -- they will be successful.

As Deb Gilbert said:
> sometimes the art room is the only place where a student
> feels success...

I often shared creation stories of cultures with my students and told them
what I thought was interesting. I had one third grader years ago that was
very interested in what I was saying about the Aztec and Hopi when we
studied them. He was very curious how they could believe those things (Oh -
I didn't go into great detail - I just shared a little). This was the child
I mentioned earlier who I helped to get his art work into the art show. Work
in our show had to be "high quality" (long story). That child really
remembered that. When I had him in seventh grade it was him who was bringing
information about the Maya to me. I just shared a little bit with the
students in class (and yes some of what I shared was not good). He found
learning the beliefs interesting. That student was definitely successful. I
don't know very many adults who truly have respect for what others believe.

Now please do not take offense.... I believe we are One Nation Under God and
I believe In God We Trust.
How can we teach that to kids? I know it is a challenge. I know we can not
tell them that we believe these to be true.
But can we talk about the meaning of these words? This will be my last post
on this topic. I know many of you stay clear of all mention of religion.
But it has to start somewhere. I grew up in a home that had respect for what
others believe. My father talked with me openly about religion.
I learned my lesson well from my father. BUT kids today do not have that.
Please post your negative responses to me privately (
This IS ABOUT ART EDUCATION. The first art ever created is more than likely
intended to make sense of the world.

Our students may not be able to achieve excellence in art - but help them
achieve excellence in life.
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."
Can we write this into our Seven Habits of Living? This is not a "soap box"
for me....I mull this over in my head all the time. I know it is something
that is needed in our world today. Respect my beliefs.

Good night everyone,

Judy Decker - Ohio
Incredible Art Department

P.S. I know some of you do not share my beliefs - yet those of you I
"talked" to do know "THE WAY".
It is "The Way" that I am talking about. I would love to hear how you teach
this to your students.
These beliefs caused a lot of "my problems". All that has happened still has
not changed my beliefs.