Monday, August 17, 2009

brain food

Recently I spent several days in Minneapolis. For whatever reason, my time there is always heavenly - lots of sleeping in, good food, and hours spent drinking coffee/reading/ wandering/etc. It all amounts to me eventually drifting into this peaceful, contemplative state, where I don't want to do anything but observe, experience, and make stuff. (So, in essence, I guess it's really me getting back to my true nature.) Fitting, then, that on this particular trip I began reading The Creative Brain by Nancy Andreasan (see the sidebar for a link).

In short: I love this book. I find it entirely fascinating. It took just a few pages for me to begin scrawling out choice quotes on whatever scrap paper I had available. Here's one, from the preface:

"[H]ow many geniuses had been born - had been given the creative nature - but were unable to realize their gifts for lack of nurture[?] Half of the human beings in history are women, for example, but we have had so few women recognized for their genius. How many were held back by societal influences[?]...I cannot believe that women are innately less creative than men. But the problem goes beyond gender. It includes racism, prejudice, poverty, wars, lack of education, and a host of other forces that prevent the seeds of human creativity from sprouting. We cannot afford to waste human gifts" (xii-xiii).

The emphasis on that last sentence is mine. The whole passage really struck me as I first sat reading it (while sipping coffee in Dinkytown - what else?). What occurs to me now, however, is that it could sum up one of the main reasons I'm going into education. This is why I want to teach, and why I am so committed to helping children that may otherwise be ignored and underserved. That might mean impoverished children in high-need schools or the exceptionally gifted child bored in the back of the room. Having money doesn't excuse someone from being misunderstood, something I'm learning more and more.

So, here I come, teaching profession. We'll see how it goes.