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Our View: The way we were -- and can yet be




This week, two events -- seemingly unrelated opened a window on what we used to -- and how we might recapture it as well. 


On Tuesday, a bill presented in the Legislature mandated that poor-performing school districts be required to teach home economics. While we argue that home economics should not be viewed as a remedial measure -- that it has a value for students no matter their performance, we like the idea that there is some attention being paid to what is becoming a "lost art" of sorts. 


On Thursday, Lee Ann Mohamed Moore spoke at the Columbus Exchange Club, where she told the story of her grandmother, Ethel Wright Mohamed, who took up embroidery late in life and is considered the Grandma Moses of embroidery with her quilts hanging in art galleries through the county, including numerous Smithsonian-sanctioned exhibits. 


The common thread (an appropriate metaphor in this instance) is that these two events combine the practical with the artistic when it comes to our creative instinct. 


When we pause to consider the success of our nation, many attributes are applied. But few are more essential to the American story than our collective impulse to create, build, innovate and explore. 


As a result, our nation has not simply built the world's greatest economy, it has also added immeasurably to world's understanding of art ... and, in turn, innovation. 


But we fear that future generations are losing much of that knowledge. 


It wasn't so long ago, that every young girl knew how to sew or bake or can fruits and vegetables. Boys learned crafts -- from wood-working to farming to mechanics. 


These were often practical pursuits -- making your own clothes was affordable, just as raising your own food was a cheaper alternate to going to the grocery store. Today with those essential items are plentiful and relative inexpensive, artists, craftsmen and independent growers have appropriated those practical skills for more creative pursuits. 


Today, we fear the only thing that holds the interest of the typical teen is the ubiquitous smart phone. We wonder what meaningful and lasting value comes from that. 


It is sad to think that generations of young people will grow up without the knowledge of so many crafts that brought joy and fulfillment to previous generations. 


We are creators at heart, and there is a joy that comes with making something with our on hands, something fundamentally human. 


Somewhere along the line, many of the creative traditions handed down from one generation to the next seems to have been forgotten. 


And we are somehow the poorer for it.



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