Let arts, athletics and technology coexist

To the editor:
In response to 1/31/13 front page article “Bristol Warren school committee pits arts against academics.”

Can we all get off our ‘high horse’ and put aside rules and punishment in favor of what’s best for our children? I’m outraged to see the petty bickering among our elected officials, related to whose child had to ‘sit-out’ due to poor academics – please, let’s take another approach!

Today’s children need healthy outlets. We live in the most obese and stressed out nation in the world – why is that? There have been scientific studies done that support music as beneficial to help children academically; it improves focus among other things.  My 23-year-old’s grades improved while he studied the drums during his middle school days. At this point in time, my five-year-old learns by using alternative sensory techniques and has positively responded to music since infancy. Let’s take an educated look at the academic benefits of the arts.

As a society we need to provide our children with healthy outlets for stress management. Music, art, and physical activity all contribute to providing our kids with positive ways to relax and simply deal with life’s demands. Where do they turn? God has been shunned down by our society, text messages, Facebook, and violent video games have replaced relationships, community and the sense of belonging.

Sports and team activities provide our children with a sense of being included, build confidence, and ultimately support a strong community. Let’s look at teen suicide rates. If those children had a place to turn, a team member, a painting, a guitar to play, could such a tragedy be prevented? How about drug abuse and other unhealthy behaviors? There have to be choices for our children and resources to allow them to ‘discover themselves’ and challenge themselves through art, music or sport.

The arts should be a mandatory part of any curriculum simply to show our kids they have avenues to turn to and activities to participate in that don’t require drugs, electronics or internet. Yes there are great benefits to modern technology, but as a whole does it hurt to get back to our roots? To use our hands and mind’s in a different way? Let’s give the ‘right-side’ of the brain a chance to open up and re-think the test- heavy school system we’ve created. Please remember, children are unique individuals and they all learn a little differently – “It takes a village.”Are we truly ‘teaching’ or just putting unrealistic demands upon our children? I vote to build our children up and expose them to art, travel, and sport and leave out the personalities and politics.

Academics came easy for me, but God only knows where I’d be if I didn’t have art and gymnastics while growing up. I’m scared for the children of today.

Michelle Hughes
Warren, RI 02885

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