“What art does is to coax us away from the mechanical and toward the miraculous. The so-called uselessness of art is a clue to its transforming power. Art is not part of the machine. Art asks us to think differently, see differently, hear differently, and ultimately to act differently, which is why art has more force…Art makes us better people because it asks for our full humanity, and humanity is, or should be, the polar opposite of the merely mechanical. We are not part of the machine either, but we have forgotten that. Art is memory…” –Jeanette Winterson
If you live in the Los Angeles area, you likely know all too well the tourist hot spot called Venice Beach. The popularity of Venice Beach can more specifically be attributed to the 2.5 mile Ocean Front Walk that takes on a carnival like atmosphere with endless sightings of the outlandish, the amazing, and the breath-taking. According to the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, every year an average of over 10 million visitors come to soak up the sun, some fun, and the spirit of Southern California.
When we conjure up examples of a strong family, images of a father who provides, a mother who nurtures, and children who obey may emerge because we have been led to believe that this is the standard. However, in our ever-changing world, the limiting definitions of a “traditional” family no longer suffice to fully encapsulate the complexities of familial strength. In fact, it is arguable that we fall short of considering the cultural influences on family structures and dynamics that offer variants on the way family strength manifests in different communities today.
“There is something different about this place where we live now. All people are free to go where they want and do what they can. Book learning swims freely around in my head and I hold it long as I want. I see a man reading a newspaper aloud and all doubt falls away. I have found hope, and it is as brown as me.” – Excerpt from More Than Anything Else: A Story of Booker T. Washington by Marie Bradby
When my children started elementary school, I took advantage of the
privilege granted to me as a mother who made a choice to suspend working
outside of the home for a number of years. I was able to volunteer at the
school to support my children academically in the classroom and continue with
story time, learning activities, and art projects at home. But it didn’t take
long for me to understand that my presence at their school extended farther than
the academic support of my own children. This understanding became the
foundation for why I chose teaching as a career.