If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men
to gather wood, divide the work and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
– Antoine de Saint Exupery
This quote reminds me of that old analogy – “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” But the sailing version speaks more directly to my heart!
I used to sail…not on tall ships, though, which would have been a dream! The group I was with taught folks to sail, and we would ‘crew’ for boat owners in the group, and we hosted fundraisers for charities. The kind where folks paid money to be taken out on San Francisco Bay. We didn’t charge the charities, they got the funds, and we got to share the beauty of sailing with people who might never go out on the water!
We taught sailing through the group, with the aim of folks crewing on boats. But the start was in 22′ dinghies. Why not just go out on the Bay in the bigger boats? It was to give them that appreciation and yearning for the sea, one on one, in a boat by themselves. There’s nothing that teaches the disciplines of wind and water like a small and responsive boat – and develops that “yearning for the vast and endless sea.”
That’s what art teachers strive to do…..get students to yearn for the art that is far beyond their current reach. We want you to see where you can go, not just keep your nose down on the paper you’re painting right now. Understand it’ll take you a while to head out to sea on your own – but know that’s your destination!