Wednesday, December 18, 2013


There are some who believe we don’t encourage and develop human potential nearly enough—and that we are capable of being vastly more creative than we are.

I tend strongly towards that view, but it’s best known proponent is, arguably, Sir Ken Robinson (see photo), who has been beating that drum for decades. He is also a thoroughly entertaining speaker so I would urge you to look up his TED talks and listen to the man himself. His original talk was entitled: “DO SCHOOLS KILL CREATIVITY?”—a provocative title if ever there was one. The answer is, of course, that in their current formats, though they do a great deal of good as well, they do.

Schools like you to conform—they call it “socialization”—and have yet to discover that creativity is innately non-conformist.

Sir Ken articulates two themes:

First, we're all born with deep natural capacities for creativity and systems of mass education tend to suppress them. Second, it is increasingly urgent to cultivate these capacities -- for personal, economic and cultural reasons -- and to rethink the dominant approaches to education to make sure that we do.

Best you watch the whole thing. He’s a hoot with a deadly serious message—and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t resonate.

The following is a heartwarming story of a young woman who clearly does not intend to be held back by anyone or anything—and who demonstrates what Sir Ken is talking about.

It is a tale of both grit and talent. It’s only a short story, but it is truly inspiring—just the thing for Christmas and reflective of the very best of America, of a ‘can do tradition’ which is currently in rocky shape. But, not in this case.

It all started with AISAYA CORBRAY being given the present of an electric keyboard by her grandmother. That inspired a desire to play the real thing so she asked her parents for a piano. She wanted the real thing with lessons to match. Trying to teach yourself is notoriously difficult.

She was promptly told that a real piano would be expensive and was unaffordable.

Undaunted, she asked what could be afforded and was given a maximum of $50.

It was mission impossible. Pianos are expensive, heavy, and costly to ship. $50 was short a zero or two.

Aisaya remained undaunted, went on Craigslist, and started looking and calling while concurrently asking her mother where the locations were.

Eventually, she found a decent piano  in Mill Creek (head North and bring snow-shoes) which she was able to bargain down to $50—so the family borrowed a truck and went to pick it up.

And here is the punchline. When Aisaya Corbray was eligible to get piano lessons in school—self-taught as she was—Aisaya was moved to Advanced Piano.

How cool is that! Aisaya is still only 16.

I was told this story by Aisaya’s mother, which is one of the most cheerful people I have met for a long time—and has the kind of personality which lights up a room. Good-looking too.

Why aren’t such people running this country!

Happy Christmas to you all—and especially to the Corbray family. I imagine by this time next year, Aisaya will have assembled a full orchestra..





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