When I Ruled The World

Do kids still have arts and music in elementary school? If they don't, they should. Hot meals, too. Kids need art, music and salisbury steak to thrive and survive. Remember the first Thanksgiving turkey silhouette you made by tracing your open hand? Mine was the only one on grandma's refrigerator that faced west. My elementary school had "lefty" scissors, but I figured out how to operate the right-handed shears in mom's junk drawer long before kindergarten. No special tools required for this southpaw.

I was a boy soprano until my voice cracked in the fifth grade, and that gift earned me plenty of mic time in the Christmas choir. My elementary school's music teacher also taught art, and her first request was to bring in one of dad's old dress shirts to wear as a painter's smock. We didn't have any men's dress shirts hanging around, so mom sent me to Jesse P. with one of her old pantsuit jackets. I looked like a little Herb Tarlick behind the easel, but I painted some damn fine dragsters and barnyard scenics in my polyester frock.

These kids are singing their hearts out:

I used to sing my heart out, too, but we covered The Beatles, not Coldplay.

Years ago I read a story about a child psychologist who polled a room full of five-year-olds. When he asked how many kids could sing, everyone raised their hand. When he asked how many could paint, up shot the opposite arm. When he asked who could dance, everyone jumped out of their seats and shook their tiny bottoms for the whole room to see.

If you asked a room full of 40-year-olds who among them can sing, dance or paint, how many would raise their hands? My guess is not enough.

That's sad.


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