I had a conversation once about music and art education in school. My companions were shocked when I revealed that I had not taken any art classes past early Elementary School because upon entering the 4th grade, they took all of the children into the music room, tested their singing ability, and those who "passed" were sent to music class and those who apparently did not, went to art class. By the time I hit Middle School, art felt foreign to me. While I loved music and thrived in it, really, I assumed I had no artistic talent. And though I thought it would be lovely to be able to create beautiful images in the form of sketches, paintings or photographs, why take a class on something you're apparently no good at? Especially during the dreadful middle school years where all that matters is being liked! Meanwhile, my "artistic" friends shared that same concern, living their youth thinking they could not carry a tune and chose to stay in art, rather than embarrass themselves in music class.
It's well known that the arts have been placed low on the totem pole when it comes to public school education. And I certainly don't want to downplay the importance of Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. But can it really do our society any good to stifle creativity? Never mind what it does to us individually when something that fuels our passion is suppressed, but what happens to the world around us when our own brilliant color and vibrancy cannot reach out and touch the rest of the world?
Responsibilities in our lives will never cease. We will always have bills to pay, work to do, chores to finish. But what if we could tackle those commitments with a flair and joy that only comes from self-expression? What if we embraced the tradition of living life, not in the drab gray of day-to-day we have somehow allowed to take hold, but in the full beautiful colors that lie deep in our souls? What if creativity was embraced and nurtured instead of confined by rules and a schedule?
It is said that true creativity dies the second one is taught to color in the lines. I think this can be taken quite literally and figuratively. Any rules and constraints can slowly and surely take the life out of creativity. We have to remind ourselves to never stop nourishing it, feeding it, and caring for it. Creativity is but a fragile thing, that with the right encouragement and reverence, can be a powerful thing to behold.