Is Literacy the Key to Happiness?

    By Marquelle Miller

(Elizabeth-or Lizzie-here. Today’s special guest post comes from Marquelle Miller. The following is a paper I received from Kellie when I assigned Persuasive Essays at The Garden School, and just happens to be the only paper of hers somehow saved on my computer. Kellie was one of those people who always brought a smile to your face with her joy, her own personal creativity, and all-encompassing hugs. She was a leader in all she said and did, and her sweet spirit continues to ripple into the hearts of many. Today it’s my privilege to share just a glimpse of that beautiful spirit with you.)

KellieCreativity is just as important as literacy. Have you ever noticed that there is a hierarchy in school of what subjects are taught? Kids have an infinite possibility of creativeness, why should it all be directed solely on math and science? The people who are good in those subjects are usually considered more intelligent than those who study drama and dance.

A hierarchical system is set up with math and science at the top, then Humanities, followed by the arts, music, drama, and finally, dance. I think that a balance of each of these subjects is necessary for people not to feel isolated. The expression on people’s faces is quite amusing when I tell them I do not take a math class and am required to be in a play. I’ve even had someone tell me flat out my education is stupid and that I need math and science to go to college. I have heard, time and time again, that character is more important than knowledge. But in order to grow in character, you need to be creative. Although there is a time and place for math and science, when a student is gifted in other things, having to sit at a desk solving math problems can and does suppress character.

Many would agree that people are gifted in different areas. For some it is being logical; for others, it’s dancing. Creativity is having original ideas that have value. There are endless possibilities of creativity, but schools tend to suppress it. Children will often have a go at anything, even if they’re unsure about it. School’s number one job often seems to be to stigmatize mistakes so the student feels downcast and stupid.

With this method it seems as though we are educating kids out of creativity. Being creative is very dynamic and interactive. Sticking kids in a classroom for hours upon end does not enhance artistic abilities. Everything kids do in school is preparing them for college, and if they don’t go to college they are, in the world’s view, a failure. While I’m not trying to elevate theatre and dance above everything else, I am saying those in the educational establishment could use a little stretching of their imagination, even if it’s not their calling or passion.

A hierarchy that values those who are more gifted in math and science is a rather crude way to measure people’s intelligence. Happiness is much more important than that anyway. If being creative is what makes you happy, why are the schools taking that away and forcing students to do other things? There is no reason not to follow one’s heart: if that means being a poor artist or musician so be it. Being creative should be a part of everything one does.

    ______________

Kellie MillerSept. 22, 1994 – Feb. 15, 2013. Beautiful and talented, Kellie’s exuberant nature was a delight to all who knew her. Her legacy at the Garden School community as a student and her roles in school plays will live on. Kellie attended New Hope Church and had a strong faith that her friends couldn’t help but catch. She was active in the Glenwood Center for the Arts, and last November sang and danced in Aspen Community Theatre’s production, “Crazy for You.” We only got to be with her a short time, but her dancing spirit will be felt in our valley and beyond forever.

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2 comments on “Is Literacy the Key to Happiness?

  1. Lissa Small says:

    What a great snapshot of our beloved Kellie.

  2. Lizzie says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Lissa! I was so happy when I found this paper saved somehow. It is only that, though… a “snapshot.” It seems so wrong that not everyone knew her or how wonderful a person she was. But I’m glad she left this behind so that I could share just a glimpse of who she was to others who might not have known her. Still, it pales in comparison… I wish there was a way to capture all of who she was.

    To me, it’s like a painting of some majestic mountains… beautiful, but it could never compare to the actual thing. But she is and will always be beloved. ❤

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