Fostering the talent of the young

Monday, 03 January 2011 11:56 Wendy Larkson Culture-Practices - Comparison Beteween Islam and Other Cultures

One of the differences between Islamic and non Islamic societies, is the fostering of the talent of the young in many different areas. Young people in the west, which is based on Judeo-Christian respect for the unique dignity of each person, are especially treasured if they can sing, play piano, dance, paint, write and perform all kinds of beautiful things. Or even if they can’t for their dignity is not dependent on this – it exists in the most impaired child as well as the most talented. But the point is that the notion of beauty in Judeo-Christian thought is much wider than in Islam - the Judeo-Christian universe celebrates and takes in the creative powers of the human person as well as the ability to suffer and endure.

How limited is Islam by comparison, by ignoring the beauty of which all people, women included are capable in art, sport, the professions, pioneering thought. Where would the profound achievements of the west be – Verdi, the Rafaelo, the Shakespeare, the researchers, the philosophers, the theologians, the benefactors of the human race among millions of other examples – if not for the unique respect for the dignity, abilities and talents of each person. Make no mistake, this is not a universally held view – it emanates from the west and one has to know the Judeo-Christian – Graeco sources of the west’s thought to appreciate it fully.

One  young performer taking America by storm at present is Jackie Evancho who  displays a God-given gift of a beautiful voice and communicates with her talent to others.  People marvel that such a young child can tap into deep emotions in listeners and can have such an insight into the beauty of music and the desire to use her voice to express it. This kind of artistic communication opens up areas of creativity in those hearing it and those who appreciate the artistic experience, share in the joy of the Creator. In Islam she would be seen simply as someone’s potential child bride, her life would be constricted – she would be another possible Aisha to be restrained and molested by an older man and forbidden from developing her talents. But through western eyes Jackie shows more of the human spirit, the depth and the creative potential of which the human being is capable- she shows us who we are, and even if we cannot sing, she sings for all of us and we treasure her for that.  In the fostering of talent and beauty we see goodness, and goodness comes from the Creator of all.

Enjoy this mix of songs. The sound quality varies but I think the voice comes across despite that.