August  14

  

Today's Quotation:

It is only by introducing the young to great literature, drama and music, and to the excitement of great science that we open to them the possibilities that lie within the human spirit-- enable them to see visions and dream dreams.

Eric Anderson

Today's Meditation:

It's very easy not to get into the habit of exposing kids to some of the greater things in life.  After all, kids tend to find these things "boring," and a bored kid is a high-maintenance kid, so we try to find things that will keep them satisfied and occupied.  If we do so regularly, though, we risk having our kids grow up without any sort of appreciation for true quality, and without experiencing any of the feelings that are brought on by the great works.

While I think that we often overvalue the classics at the expense of much of the great new material, I also believe that there's a reason for which many of the great works are still read and studied.  They tend to speak to a deeper part of ourselves, that part that sees the potential glory and wonder of the human experience.  They appeal to the explorer in each of us, the lover, the dreamer, the fighter.  They help us to see our potential vicariously, through the lives of fictional characters, which can set off a spark in ourselves that can help us to achieve more than we might otherwise.

There are many arguments against living vicariously as a habit, but exposing oneself to other perspectives and points of view doesn't necessarily mean that we're living our whole lives through someone else.  And exposing children of all ages to the great literature and drama and science can help them to see potential and possibility rather than limitations and barriers, which can be one of the greatest gifts that we can give to them.

Exposing kids and ourselves to great works can help us to grow and to learn about life through the eyes of others, helping us all to become more compassionate and caring, too.  While we have to be careful about how we define "great," and we also have to be sure that we don't allow ourselves or others to become dependent on vicarious experiences, it's important that we enrich ourselves by broadening our horizons, and there's plenty of material out there that can help us to do so, if we only let it.

Questions to ponder:

1.  What great works have you exposed yourself to recently?

2.  In what ways will kids grow and learn if they aren't exposed to great works?

3.  Why do we sometimes need to "jump-start" our creativity and our powers of invention?

For further thought:

The books which help you most are those which make you think the most.

Theodore Parker

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