The Seven Joys of Life

Education is ultimately about taking kids from “I can’t” and “I don’t like” to

“Wow! I can!” and “Wow! This is so cool!” in the basic joys of life – the joys of words, numbers, experimentation, engineering, art, music, and sports. Without the experience of each of these joys, the child can not possibly make informed life choices with respect to career or use of free time.

Seven Joys and Three Key Elements of Each

                                           #1                                   #2                             #3

Words poetry      fiction    drama
Numbers counting    calculating    proving
Experiments physics    chemistry    biology
Civics economics      ethics    history
Music rhythm      melody    harmony
Art drawing      painting    sculpture
Sports individual      team    dance


What is a reasonable level of mastery for an average child in music, art, drama?

In music, a reasonable capstone performance would the composition and performance of a twelve bar blues on the guitar or piano or the equivalent.

In art, the equivalent would be the drawing of a self-portrait in perspective.

In sports, the joy of playing a two out of three set match. In drama, the joy of delivering a Shakespearean monologue. In math, the joy of walking a class through a proof of the Pythagorean theorem. In science, the joy of demonstrating Galileo’s inclined plane experiment.

A great teacher can take a student to joy through discipline within a matter of weeks. A poor teacher given years will fail.

School principals and college Deans should identify the teaching methods of of the greatest teachers and hire those capable of implementing them.

This is not rocket science. Examples of such master teachers are:

Betty Edwards and Brian Bomeisler   Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,

Scott Houston, The Piano Guy

Tim Galwey , The Inner Game series (Tennis, Golf….)

Stephen Fry, The Ode Less Traveled

Alex Filipenko, Astronomy,  UC Berkeley

Michael Starbird statistics, University of Texas, Austin

Stephen Ressler in engineering, West Point

Rafe Esquith, fifth grade teacher