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Lesson Plans

Re: American Vision

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
carla harwitt (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 06:46:11 -0700 (PDT)

I was really affected by your reply to my posting. It gave me a lot to
think about. Thanks.
--Carla in LA

On Sun, 8 Jun 1997, Numo Jaeger and Michael Miller wrote:

> Our generation did have a dark vision for the future and indeed it
> was probably a factor in our passionate protest against the war in the 60's.
> I have been an artist and around art my whole life. My family a
> collection of excentric folks...artists, writers, musicians, educators... I
> came to teaching after being disillusioned by making products for consumer
> consumption.
> After having taught for 15 plus years I have come to realize that
> the art of teaching and the teaching of art combines all that which is
> important to me. It is medicine. It is law. It is learning and knowledge. It
> is delight in the possiblities. It is introspection. It is the maker. It a
> positive method for social change. It is working with consciousness and
> collective consciousness.
> For people who were born in this country during the 50's the
> standard of living does not compare to that of their parents. Many of our
> parents could expect to work in the same job their own work life. Not so
> today. The standard of living seems to be decreasing. Health care, welfare,
> lack of funding in education, lack of equal opportunity, racism on the rise.
> Did we worry about the water? Did we worry about going outside to
> be in the sun? This next generation has a whole new set of problems which
> are compounded by the mistakes of former generations.
> Growing up I did not see homeless people everywhere. Now it is
> common place. I did not witness drive by shootings or threats to my health
> or safety by opposing gangs. I did not need to go out and help support the
> family to pay the bills before the age of 16. I did not live in a tiny
> apartment with several generations in the same space.
> The children I worked with last year lived in an economically more
> stable environment and for the most part they did not have a dark vision for
> the future. There certainly was a "me out of necessity" quality to them
> though. Those children still needed to take care of themselves at an earlier
> age. Mom and Dad are both working. They become self survivors, more
> independent. Innocence is taken away from them earlier.
> I like to think of that time as the "magic" years. The time when
> dreams are fashioned. The precious empty time where imagination has a place
> to take hold and grow.
> Now we fill every moment and are bombarded with information. The
> hurried child. The child as miniature adult with incredibly high
> expectations placed on them. What happened to play?
> Many of the children I work with this year have a very different
> reality. Some see horrors. Some live nightmares. They get to high school and
> already have been through a war. A war right in their own community. A
> different kind of cold war. A war which destroys self esteem, self worth.
> Many of them seem to have "given up" already. Not everyone...ofcourse. Just
> too many.
> These children need a peaceful place. A spacious place. A place
> where it is ok to be themselves. A safe house. A place to make art. All
> kinds of art. Drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture, music,
> dance. They need to choose life. What better way to do that then through THE
> ARTS. Where is is ok to be yourself.
> Just my opinion at this time. I continue to learn, grow and change
> myself.
> Numo