The paradigm of the 21st century is so unique and changing so rapidly, we have no way of knowing where we will end up. Paradigm shifts are natural, but what we face in the 21st century is different—our ability to create, process, and share new information is expanding beyond what we have ever known. It’s easy to feel it’s impossible to keep up, but learning through the arts can teach us otherwise.
“One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The key to satisfaction and success in this environment of rapid and all-encompassing change is flexibility. Like Alice, many of us might think that the challenges are impossible to maneuver. But it is possible to grow and thrive through such a time, and the arts can teach us to flourish in the midst of it all. The arts teach flexibility in thinking.
What is flexibility?
- It defines a way for us to get our work done and to engage with our friends and families.
- It reduces stress and improves our satisfaction with life and work.
- It promotes the desire to learn and grow and see possibility.
- It helps us understand structure and its role in giving us the freedom to create.
- It helps us see beauty—the ability to see the stark elegance of the Southwest desert or the snowcapped grandeur of the Rocky Mountains.
Flexibility in thinking is a mandate for success in our increasingly complex and global society. Within the flexibility of learning in the arts, students—along with their teachers—embrace new insights and are open to sharing new possibilities. Together they often imagine nuances and interpretations they might never have considered otherwise.
Considering the significant and ongoing changes we are experiencing on a global scale, without flexibility we face growing confusion and struggle. We need tools that will help us continue to move forward and create in our work and personal lives.
Let’s find a way to integrate the learning we can experience in the arts in everything we do for the benefit of all our students and children, our families and communities, and our businesses and organizations. Focused learning in the arts can fill our world with excitement, energy, and a renewed focus on possibility over limitations.