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It’s easy to think of beauty as an extra, something nice but unimportant, when you’re doing meaningful work. But an ugly solution is only ever a band-aid, because it doesn’t inspire. The effort ends with the initiators.

I can’t work with young people without some kind of art. For some reason, the concept of learning + effort = improved results comes naturally to people when the goal in question is beauty, moreso than for science, or community, or anything else. Once they have the experience, it’s easy to point to it as evidence that it could work in other areas of their lives as well.

Whether we’re talking about 5-year-old children with coloring pages, junior youth personalizing their workbook covers with Sharpie markers, youth writing poetry, or adults copying quotations in calligraphy, there is a willingness to strive for beauty that seems to exist in everyone, regardless of skill.

It would be foolish to ignore this gift in the name of efficiency. Where were you planning on getting so efficiently, anyway? And why would you want to stay once you’ve arrived in an ugly place?

photo credit: chrisinplymouth via photopin cc

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