I suggest, as part of a long-range strategic plan, that we revive the arts and humanities, music, theater, dance, sports and other extracurricular activities in our schools.
In order to win this war, we must strategically arm our children with disciplines that stress creativity, empathy, critical thinking, positive attitudes, teamwork, individual dignity and sociability as soon as they enter school.
Let's empower our children's imaginations at an early age by presenting them with opportunities to discover their own talents. Let's use the arts and humanities to inspire them to make creative choices that will lead them to work in harmony with each other, let them know that they are beautiful, and let them understand that it is their responsibility to add value to the community.
We must let our children know, as soon as they are born, that we expect nothing less than greatness from them. From there we must encourage and support them every step of the way.
Let's teach them a true American history that will make them proud to know that every culture here has contributed to the greatness of this country.
Let's help them appreciate the history of the road on which they are beginning their life-journeys.
Let's help them see that those who traveled before them made great sacrifices in order for them to have the opportunity to journey to their authentic selves.
Visual arts, humanities, theater, dance, sports and music, all positive character-building disciplines, have been virtually stripped from most school curricula. We've seen a distinct correlation between the dismantling of these enriching programs and the rise in crime and hopelessness over the last 15 years. We must reverse this downward spiral if we are to win the war.
Restoring these programs will be a costly proposition. However, gaming is coming to Philadelphia. We should invest a portion of the billions in profits expected to flow to our economy into restoring these humanizing programs in our schools.
Let's learn from our mistakes. This generation is violently exhibiting the classical psychoses of our miscalculations of the past. Let's make a strategic, long-term investment in the next generation. Then, in the words of the old spiritual, "We won't have to study no war no more."
Walter Dallas is artistic director of the New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia.