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Beauty and Truth

At my sons’ elementary school, there is a themed art contest underway. Students are given a theme (this year it’s “Beauty Is…”), and can they product any piece of art, literature, music, photography, etc. to fit creatively with the theme.

At dinner the other night, we discussed what their possible entries might be. “So boys,” I asked them, “tell me what you think is beautiful.”

(Let me pause to tell you that I have been parenting sons for over 12 years, and yes, I realize that discussions with pre-adolescent boys about the nature of art and beauty is about as fruitful as discussing calculus with an giraffe. However, it had been a long day, I was in desperate need of a good laugh, and so I went for it.)

The ten-year-old piped up first. “SOCCER!” he shouted. “Soccer is beautiful. In Europe, they call it The Beautiful Game.”

Europe? Why, that’s just almost qualifies as culture, I’d say. I began to hope.

But not for long.

“Canada is beautiful, because they have that really good bacon,” offered the eldest, “and also Sasquatch.”

“Also hot dogs and monkeys,” offered the eight-year-old, and he punctuated it with a resounding burp.

“And that. THAT was beautiful,” he said.

(Ah, yes. Hairy beasts and bodily functions. Now we’re back to familiar ground.)

Despite his questionable contribution to the discussion, the eight-year-old was still eager to participate, wondering if he could submit a photograph to the contest. “Of course,” I told him, handing over my camera and giving instructions. “Take a picture of what you think is beautiful.”

He did. And he said I could share the results.

First, his foot:
Rocks In My Dryer

Then, a self portrait of his favorite shirt:
Rocks In My Dryer

Weaponry, of course:
Rocks In My Dryer

A sunny sky through his favorite backyard tree:
Rocks In My Dryer

His other foot:
Rocks In My Dryer

A dusty old row of traffic cones:
Rocks In My Dryer

And still more weaponry:
Rocks In My Dryer


What would your kids call beautiful?

[Editor's Note: See some of last year's entries to this art contest -- PTA Reflections -- when the theme was "Wow!" See them here.]