Celebration Education

Which is more important: art or science?

Too often, children are discouraged from aiming to become professional dancers, artists, or musicians.

But why?

Parents feel they are being realistic by pointing out to their children that it's hard to make a living in the arts and that they should drop those fantasies in favor of more academic studies.

I believe that by discouraging children from these enjoyments, we do them great a great disservice. We teach them that it's never prudent to put your whole heart into their passions. We teach them that's it's not reasonable work hard for something unique, that they're not good enough anyway, and that they'll only succeed if they focus on academics, just like all the other good kids. But is that success?

I once had a unique experience, where a proud mom bragged about how her daughter Kristi used to have an interest in being an artist, but this mom encouraged academics instead. By the time I met her, Kristi was working to become a doctor. Now I'm not really suggesting that the academics of a career in medicine are bad for her, but I did note that as far as I could see, Kristi had lost her artistic skill.

In my time with her, one of our projects included making our own t-shirt designs. The purpose was to create wearable art as an expression of our own personalities. Kristi had a hard time coming up with an original design. The designs she chose were mere mimics of others' designs. Moreover, before she made her final decisions on her designs, it was necessary for her to gain her younger sister's approval. Her art and creativity were not evident. I am suggesting that by discouraging her artistic instinct, she not only doubts her art but she also doubts herself as an individual.

Of course, I can be proud of the fact that Kristi is doing well academically, but when I visit a doctor, I prefer one who also has a creative mind. I don't want a doctor who can merely pass tests and follow rules, but I also want a doctor who can take what he knows about medicine and apply his creative mind to find solutions that are not necessarily in the textbooks or on the tests, without having to ask his little sister.

Comparing science against art is like comparing the two sides of a mobius strip. When used together together, art and science can create an object with infinite potential.

-Heather Martinson

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