What's With The Average American Today?

August 4, 2009
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America... What comes to mind when you hear that glamorous name? Freedom, liberty, justice...? Look closer, though. Look at the schools, the average American child at age thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen. Do they appreciate music, art, and or literature? Not many of them do. I realize that I am a very lucky child, and visit France and Germany frequently. When I analyze the difference in countries, I realize one thing: kids in Europe have a cultured mind. By the age of thirteen, kids in France and Germany already speak English and or Spanish, while most American student are just learning a language in 9th grade. That is not something to be proud of. To me, not taking time to teach kids to speak a foreign language by the age of thirteen is subtly arrogant to other countries. It's almost as if saying, "I"m American, and I expect everyone else in the world to speak my language and understand me". I can see where it costs money to teach languages, but it's culture. It's important. It's life. Very few kids my age appreciate classical music. Many don't play an instrument. It's sad, because classic music is euphonious and beautiful. Music notes is the same in every country. If you put two people in a room together who speak different languages, you can play music, and they both understand it. Classic music, to me, is life. You can express anger, love, passion, joy, sadness, through a single note. Playing an instrument is part of education to me. I can't imagine not playing my piano or violin. Music is more important than people think. Music can provide appreciation to the world. Art is important to ones life. It brings color and stories into the world. Art is versatile. It can relieve pain and aggravation. It's a masterpiece, the word alone. Go into an art gallery, look at the paintings. What do you see? Feelings, phases, words. You can tell a life's story by painting or drawing. You can see when people feel melancholic, happy, confused, hurt, by the way the artist uses shapes and color. What you can never have enough of is literature. Not books inane, callow like The Clique, Gossip Girl, Privileged.... But literature, as in Lord of the Flies, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Odyssey, The Count of Monte Cristo, War and Peace, Anna Korean, The Three Musketeers, The Red Violin, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.... Books that give life and meaning, that can change one's life, books that inspire. By reading, you grow opinions on the world, and can form a deeper mind. As I say, "too shallow for my deep mind". Schools need to teach languages, art, music, literature. Not just because, but it's important. Knowing how to speak with foreigner is important. Appreciating music and art is important. Literature is important. Average America seems to be missing this, and it's hurtful to me. If you look back at great writers, artists and musicians, they come from Europe, Asia, Russia. Why? Maybe it's because they consider it important? Or maybe it's because they are more educated? As the world modernizes, countries haven't lost love for language, art, music and literature. Only the average America.

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Electricity This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 12, 2009 at 1:51 pm
thanks for the comments! It means a lot! ^__*
Sam A. said...
Sept. 7, 2009 at 6:09 pm
I've never been out of the US. My mother teaches high school Spanish in Maryland. A few days ago, I visited her school to see what a public high school was like since I've gone to private school for nearly my entire life. My mom made me talk about the school I go to at the end of each class, and then we asked the students what their favorite books were. Out of the 40-60 students we asked, there were barely 5 who could name even one book. I'm not yet fluent in Spanish, and I don�... (more »)
Sunshineyday said...
Aug. 21, 2009 at 2:05 pm
I disagree with your article. There are other ways to be "cultured" besides playing an instrument,or listening to classical music. Not everyone likes the same thing, I frankly your article seemed a little 'old fashioned'. There are many other CREATIVE displays of artistry, and we live in a time where you can express yourself artistically in a variety of ways. I do not like current music either, but their has been music in the post-classical era that has been artistic. The 60's actually ... (more »)
Zero_Kiryu This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 19, 2009 at 12:49 am
I agree! People think I'm crazy for reading classics over shallow books like Gossip Girl. I read anything as long as there's meaning in it. I wasn't taught a language young, but I am required to take lating next year. I've been trying to learn Japanese since Christmas though (Watashi wa kiiro no boushi desu!) ha ha. Great piece. (Although classical music is pleasant, I play rock music on my iPod.)
TheTraveler said...
Aug. 13, 2009 at 3:03 pm
Hallo/Bonjour! Tu parles deux langues aussi? Fantastique! Ja Deutsch klingelt nicht sehr gut aus aber das ist ok. Ich liebte deine Article und danke für lesen Suicidal Walk. Deine Mutter lebt in Deutschland, sehr toll! Ich habe keine Famille in Deutschland aber viele Freunde (von einen Austauschprogramme). Et alors, je n’ai pas de temps (j’ai besoin de faire mes devoirs L). Au revoir et possible nous parlerons plus tard!
Vega&Lyra said...
Aug. 12, 2009 at 2:58 pm
I agree, and you did a great job getting your point across, and I liked the French title too. I wish that I had been given the chance to learn another language when I was younger. Now I'm trying to learn French and Spanish, and it would have been a lot easier if I had been able to start younger. Whichever one I am better at I'll teach to my children. I also play six insterments, and people think I'm crazy, especially because my music teacher doesn't like me.
TheTraveler said...
Aug. 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm
I loved this article, I speak French and German, learning another language is great and important especially Americans (like myself) I also play trumpet, I agree that most kids don't play an insturment but should. Very nice.
resilva said...
Aug. 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm
I just wanted to say I agree with you and I like how you titled your editorial in French to get your point across. It's nice that someone shares my frustration when my peers mock me for preferring Antonio Vivaldi over Eminem and The Great Gatsby over Gossip Girl.
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