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Wonder and Marvel of an Ordinary Life

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
James M. Barrie

In The Parent's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents, William Martin encourages...

"Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself."

In their beautiful book, Bringing the Outside In, Sandra Duncan and Jody Martin offer an idea to help children revel in the ordinary:

"Andy Goldsworthy is a British artist and photographer known for his artistry in creating land (or ephemeral) art. Goldsworthy creates with materials he finds right beneath his feet or within an arm’s length: Twigs, stones, mud, berries, moss, ferns, leaves, pinecones and acorns. With these easily accessible and found materials, he constructs visual beauty…(i.e. sculptures, mosaic-type patterns)…Simple and ordinary natural objects become extraordinary under Goldsworthy’s enchanted touch and imagination.

Give children inside opportunities to create land art just like Andy Goldsworthy. Simply find a small area in your classroom, declare it an Andy Goldsworthy studio, and fill it with [ordinary nature items and] ideas."  (The authors provide a number of ideas, such as going to the internet and downloading Goldsworthy images to post in the studio.)


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