Archives for posts with tag: authenticity


Interestingly, this Earth Day’s post is about beauty. Take a look around. Beauty is everywhere – in trees, in dirt, in animals, in the sky, and in reflections in the water. It can sometimes be easy to overlook natural beauty when we are caught up in the stresses of everyday life. Leaves on the trees are miraculous things each with its own shape and color. Even evergreen needles are interesting to look at when viewed up-close. Lately, the spring weeds dominate the yard, yet the colors of their flowers are spectacular. It’s lovely to find these in the desert. Our yard has a lot of wild life as well – jack rabbits, cottontails, squirrels, wild horses, and plenty of birds. Our sky never disappoints for its crisp blue color and lenticular clouds. As far as I am concerned, all bodies of water are beautiful; when was the last time you explored a puddle? All this talk of beauty reminds me of an earlier post regarding beauty.

While it is wonderful to see the external beauty of nature in our surroundings, how often do we think of internal beauty? Outward appearances aren’t everything – especially when all we see is the surface. Today, I am also grateful for the the inner beauty of my friends and family. I challenge you to look beyond the surface. Authenticity is pure beauty, often expressed in laughter, or outwardly through caring and giving. This is where we find the depth within a person’s heart.

Let us all aim to express love in our spirits with our inner beauty.

Joy,
Cheryl

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Artistic expression is the epitome of a thriving community. Whenever ancient artifacts are found, a glimpse into the past presents itself. Visions of prosperous individuals, imaginings of communal events, and evidence of the past help the modern person understand the importance of expression. After all, any artistic expression indicates the value of human events, the struggles of mankind, and perhaps the desire to demonstrate the beauty in everyday things. Sophocles’ plays are indicative of the time they were created for a certain purpose in his society. Acting out the order of events often helped the people around him see, feel, and maybe even change their minds about controversial issues. Petroglyphs, and the like, leave impressions for the viewer to ponder the thoughts and realities of a past culture. The pictures, while primitive, display man’s early need to create. Proof of this desire is demonstrative in music formed to prepare or educate those around the performers. Musical patterns are fascinating to the human ear. Our nursery rhymes are based on repeated patterns that stimulate the brain and help people learn. A past discovery of musical vibrations enabled many deaf students tremendous opportunity for growth. Recently, taking theater, art, and music out of schools has been a heated debate. Educators of these genres fight to continue these programs while others see less significance. What is troubling is a possible future without the modes of self-expression established early in life. Individuals in these fields currently bring delight to many and fulfill basic needs, especially through catharsis, an emotional cleansing. Solid cultures rely on human expression and emphasis must be made to help developing students by teaching them the basics of theater, art, and music in school all three of which enable students to learn efficiently, serve as an invest in people, and establish a sense of pride in individuality that transcends into the future.
Proficiency in any area of the current curriculum is brought forth when the style learning and application suits the students. At an early age, the brain is attracted to patterns, rhythms, and geometrical shapes engaging attention. As people grow older, established patterns of language in stories or in music trigger what is known as anticipatory skills. When one hears a pattern in either story-telling or in music, one anticipates what comes next. If what is predicted follows, the brain is further encouraged. The same happens for students who are involved in dance or performing arts. They tend to learn anatomy much quicker because they associate the movement with function. Younger students learn motor skills integral for early development. The math classroom engages a student more when she can learn time signatures when playing the drums. One of the fundamental truths about music beats and rhythms is that makes people move. “It is as important to have music in the school as it is to have clean windows, adequate ventilation, and sanitation. A half-day in school without music is like a face without a smile, or a desert landscape” (Winship 508). When something is as essential to the early development of the brain, it makes better sense to endow its abilities to continue. If schools understand and utilize the concepts here, learning becomes natural and less of a chore.
Engaged students express their individuality as they learn to become self-directed. The usual banking based education is less a problem when valuable skills are learned through discovery and not just on facts. While details of the past and present are needed to fully grow, autonomous students gain meaning when they seek out the answers on their own. A study at the Chicago High School for the Arts indicated that students became individuals during their four years: “A key part of an artist’s development comes from an acceptance of oneself and one’s point of view” (Brown 18). Maturity is useful in any situation because it prepares the student for life. It is not to say those who “embrace an artistic identity” are less likely to be team players (Brown 18). Collaboration is taught within performance, whether that performance be in the orchestra, or a single singer on a stage. The painter, sculptor, or photographer builds community as well. She understands the human condition, feels her own completeness, and aims to demonstrate her views: “Esthetic perception of art is associated with the development of personality and disposition” (Lese 184). Art in schools enables students to embrace and grown into their individual natures. The world outside the classroom needs people who are confident in their abilities and who know which temperaments they possess. A common complaint among employers is the lack of team players who can bring new approaches to difficult situations. The foundation built by allowing students creative outlets aids within the work-a-day world even if the individual does pursue a career in the arts: “Special relations of friendship were established among the students […], which in turn lead to a better collaboration between the departments” (Lese 184). The Lese study also indicates that no matter which medium a student is familiar, lessons learned in the arts establishes adaptability. Those who enter the workforce with this background are able to direct individual skills and function well across any discipline.
Empowering students should be the main focus of any school’s curriculum. Students who are allowed to express themselves creatively attain the well-rounded attributes often looked for by colleges and society. A high school transcript that reflects the grades is helpful, but it does not assess a person’s capability after receiving a diploma. True investment in students builds self esteem and establishes certain coping mechanisms. A student taught to have integrity, along with humility and balance is more likely to adapt to the ever-changing situations in life. Art allows students to learn self-calming techniques because it “brings a chance to talk, relax, get out any blocking social dramas, or forget their doubts” (Brown 16). When students unlock and focus on the task at hand, art becomes constructive, similar to the means of therapy. Concentration becomes an outlet while the student builds on his talents and confidence. Often the appropriate allotted time immersed in artistic activities, whether through movement or creative thinking, allows for stretching and attempting new things. Because disparity is rarely seen within the arts, students are free to partake in the beneficial aspects of self-expression without artistic or societal boundaries. Remember, society receives what it puts out: “A work of art triggers emotion, admiration and appreciation in the onlooker, thus revealing the author’s comprehensive view as he moves through various stages in knowing and comprehending art” (Lese 183). Schools that allow art programs authorize students to take ownership of the contributions they will make to the world.
Society needs people who are not afraid to express themselves through art. Artists and onlookers appreciate the role education plays in the world. Without the values placed on former and newly built cultures, life would seem dull. Seeing a play, watching or listening to a musical performance, or entering a gallery are some the many pleasures of the human experience. The foundation built in schools enables the new artist a position in a circle of expertise. It fulfills a human need that spans all backgrounds. Art education in the school unlocks unique abilities in all students whether or not they choose to pursue a path of artist expression as form of income. It must be emphasized again that those abilities are established because the art of learning is individual. When the schools can teach that individuality is recognized and praised, students are given the chance to learn specifically what they need to flourish. It is when the students’ ideas and talents are invested and groomed that society gains its most useful resources.

Joy,
Cheryl

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Without the arts, we would not have Harper Lee’s latest publication. Get it here:

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If you’re into Georgia O’Keefe, take a look here:

Works Cited
Brown, Tina Boyer. “A High School for the Arts.” Journal of Education 195.1 (2015): 15-19. Education Research Complete. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Lese, Ana-Cristina. “The Importance of Artistic Creation Resulting from the Collaboration/Interaction of Arts.” Review of Artistic Education 9 (2015): 182-5. ProQuest. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Winship, A. E. “The Vision of Public School Music.” The Journal of Education 77. 19 (1913): 507-508. Jstor. Web. 16 Aug. 2015.

2015-03-10 13.16.18Remember the old saying about judging the content of a book by its cover? People often judge a person’s appearance in the same way. More and more, initial judgments have resulted in murder because what is represented is not exactly reality.

It’s interesting, I’ve had this post in draft form for a long time. But today I dragged it up because it occurred to me that both this post regarding appearances and one of my last posts called Emotional Intelligence are a bit related.

Let’s see how. Take a person dressed in shabby clothing, one in fashionable street clothes, and one in a tuxedo or fine dress. The majority of people assume that the social status or caste of each of these individuals is demonstrated by the clothes each wears. Do we know these people? Perhaps you know someone like them. So what of clothing? It covers the body because, by golly, it’s illegal not to wear something. And note, that people can change what they wear to suit different situations in life. Heck, it is socially unacceptable to show up at a special occasion, say at a fine wedding, wearing a pair of overalls and nothing else. We dress for those occasions. And on a daily basis, we conform to different styles to suggest who we are before we meet others. The initial judgment, then, is what one hopes for, especially on a first date or interview when impressions seem to mean even more than usual. Can we suggest that people use the initial judgment as a sort of selfish act? The whole idea of dressing to impress is a facade which may or may not accurately represent the person presenting it. I suppose some people like the attention. It’s a shame people cannot wear something without others guessing who is inside. To utilize our emotional intelligence, we should aim to find out who the person is before we make our final judgments. The same applies to celebrities. Are we star struck? Are we impressed by those who flaunt money in the form of clothing or vehicles? Why does it matter?

If you’ve been paying attention to current events, you will have noticed that police officers have gunned down or beaten people to death by appearances. I imagine the academy teaches that certain looks should trigger certain responses while on duty. Body language is one thing that officers will pick up on. Emotional intelligence does help us identify with rowdy behavior and the like. We are human. If we understand ourselves, certainly, we can have a better guess at another’s behavior. Again, it’s a guess. Better to ask questions to learn about another before jumping to conclusions.

How does that apply to the color of one’s skin? If you haven’t noticed, skin color cannot be changed like clothing. Nevertheless it is also used to categorize people. Again, we need to use our Emotional intelligence when it comes to differences of appearances. The next time you are in a situation when you begin to judge someone based on appearances, take a second to remind yourself that even you are not the clothes you wear or the car you drive, so the person you wish to judge isn’t likely to fit your initial judgement either. Take time to get to know people. Decide that individuality and diversity is beautiful. And since I mentioned old sayings at the start of this blog, Luke 6:31 ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’

Joy,
Cheryl

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When was the last time you pretended to be someone or something you’re not either to impress or fit into the crowd? Perhaps you purchase certain types of clothing or listen to specific music though deep inside each of these makes you uncomfortable. Has your vocabulary changed? Maybe your hair style?

Is your outward appearance more important than what’s inside your heart? Do you value the opinions of others over your own truths?

Time to take a good look at your value system. Sometimes we believe hanging with the “right” crowd will make us better people. You know this is hardly true. Usually, the scenario goes something like this: You’re spending time with someone only to be ridiculed for having your own thought. Initially you are taken aback, but continue to press forward. As time goes on you find yourself watching the things you say, and feel stifled that anything you may say or do will be met with similar reproach.

This is no way to live if you’re to be the free person you are. If the people you spend time with do not allow you to be your best self, it’s better to be without them. Instead, enjoy the company of those whom you do have the freedom to be yourself – The freedom of authenticity. We should never be drones without self worth. Speak your ideas freely, particularly with like-minded people. You’ll find that’s the way to thrive and become your best self. Don’t let others stifle you or your ideas.
You may find true friends as well.

Joy,
Cheryl

A genuine friend encourages and challenges us to live our best thoughts, honor our purest motives, and achieve our most significant dreams. ~John C. Maxwell

A friend of mine, yes, a true friend, literally posted a hand-written note to my office wall the other day. We don’t see hand written words much anymore. This definition was written on a scrap of notebook paper long since torn away from its spiral binding. It made its way from the past into the present as it shines and reminds me each day of the true sense of the word. How often do we call people our friends, especially those with whom we are only acquainted? We use the term too loosely. We have friends on Facebook, or any social media and choose to call them friends.

Let’s break down this definition.
A genuine friend: It would seem authenticity is at stake here. How often are we truly genuine as a public self? My last post suggests that we often subconsciously use our occupations to describe who we are, but the translation of that description fails immensely. Being true can be difficult. It can expose our weaknesses and cause us to be vulnerable – a risk we would rather not take. If we can be true to who we are at our core, we come across as different. No one wants to be different; we’d rather fit in. It would seem we don’t allow many people to see our genuine self. It’s a shame.

As a genuine friend, one would and should demonstrate authenticity. Possessing this strength, it makes sense that we would encourage those around us to also be genuine. This is considered the best way to be. It follows that we would encourage and hold accountable those around us to live their best thoughts. Mind you, these are thoughts for the highest self we can become. That means no more self loathing and self defeat. It’s the push that helps us smile and get through our day.

Next we would honor or respect the other’s purest motives. What is pure? It’s the refined remains that the stuff of our experiences, the life and trauma we’ve lived through, leaves behind. If life was all sugar coated, we would not know what it means to be refined or have pure motives. We would only try to achieve what we deem we are entitled to that drives what we do or say.

Instead, we would aim to help our friends achieve their most significant dreams. What makes one dream more significant than others? It could be the value one places on that dream. It may be a goal of financial freedom, of helping others achieve their dreams. Dreams come in many sizes. The dream to achieve an educational degree is just as significant as the dream to be a parent who is aware of the needs of his or her children. Dreams can be simple or complicated. As genuine friends, we are responsible to be at the aid of others.

How many true friends can you say you have after reading this post? Ask if you’ve been a genuine friend.

Apply what we’ve learned from John C. Maxwell and make the determination to be a genuine friend.

Joy,
Cheryl