A while back, I was in a Michael’s art supply store, and found a pamphlet (considerably less than a book, but more than a worksheet) about the idea of Zentangle. I didn’t think the book was worth my money, but I leafed through the book, enough to get the idea. And then, at breakfast with extended family on Saturday at one of our favorite breakfast places, I showed one of the artful-minded but hesitant family members just how easy it is to produce art. I used one of the paper napkins from the dispenser by the coffee urns, and used a Pigma Micron #05 pen in blue. It ripped through the paper in several places (as one uncle said, “napkins are a hard medium because they’re a soft medium…” you try to decipher that one), but it turned out OK. Is it exactly Zentangle? Maybe, maybe not.
What’s the takeaway for me as an educator? I don’t know. I said in one of my recent posts, American High-Tech, that we don’t really know what our students are going to be doing in 10-15 years. I talked with my Dad tonight, and I was reminded that my parents made sure that I tried my hand at as many things as possible — hiking and canoeing, bicycling and blacksmithing, pottery and writing and fencing. I had a pretty divergent experience as a kid, and I got to try out so many different things. Even as an adult, I do that.
Yet as an educator, I’m amazed at how much I keep falling back on the same basic two principles of homework: “read this and write that.” Just two days ago in a restaurant, I demonstrated my skills as an artist to my lady’s family, and it had nothing to do with homework or being an academic. It had everything to do with being a human being.
And which do we really care about, for when our children grow up?