I thought I would take this opportunity to write about the topic of love. I realize it may seem like a strange topic for a retired principal to share in a Blog designed to support teaching and learning. But let me tell you why I picked this topic.
Having the opportunity to spend quality time with my daughter when she was in elementary school during the winter break, we had many discussions especially after watching a movie or TV show together. On one occasion the actor said something about going to his place to “make love”. Now, it appears to me that love is not something “you make.” There isn’t a recipe for love. It’s not a physical act in the sense the actor used it.
Here is a four-letter word that has some beauty behind it, certainly more than other four-letter words, yet we use it too often to cover such a multitude of experiences that it has become virtually meaningless to many. Think about how you have used the word “love” for a moment.
We once had a movie called, “The Love Bug”. We had a television program called, “The Love Boat’. We had bumper stickers about love: “USA: Love It or Leave It”, “Make Love, Not War!” “I Love My Dog!” or “I Love My Cat” on one side and on the other side of the car it said, “I Love My Husband”. What was the true message? I am not trying to sound paranoid about the word love but it just seems to be used in so many ways making it have no real meaning.
The point I want to make is that the greatest gift we can give our kids is our true love and the understanding of what love really means. Let me remind you of a couple of lines in Frank Gilroy’s play, “The Subject Was Roses”: (quote) “There was a dream I used to have about you and I…It was always the same…I’d be told that you were dead and I’d run crying and I’d say, “My father’s dead and he never said he loved me.”.
I encourage you all to start by telling your kids you love them. Saying it is one thing. Acting on the basis of one’s love is another. Love is learned. Love has many teachers. Love has to be mutual over time. There is an art to love as Eric Fromm described in his book, The Art of Loving. Love has to be practiced, modeled, and experienced. I am not an expert on love but would like to offer these qualities of what I believe love is made of:
- The ability to say you’re sorry
- The strength to forgive
- The capacity to trust
- The ability to share and care
- The need to be loved.
- The potential to see some good in everyone
- The ability to say “no” when it needs to be said
- The capacity to be patient and understanding
- Being there during good and bad times
I am sure you can add much more to this list.
Given these challenging times which can cause much stress, anxiety and trauma not only for adults but also for kids, let us re-evaluate priorities. When planning your day, whether an educator or parent or both, consider making Social-Emotional Learning a priority above all else. That doesn’t mean kids cannot continue to learn to read, write and compute but if nothing else happens in a day for whatever happens in the home, make Love the one thing you do NOT let go.
What I hoped to accomplish in this message was the fact that I think we need to attend to the true meaning of that beautiful four-letter word, “LOVE.” The true meaning of that word is found in each of us when we care, share, discipline, and understand. Our children shouldn’t have to go out looking for love because home and school are partners in providing LOVE through Social-Emotional activities such as bucket-filling, building good character traits, and positive attitudes!
Imagine…Believe…Succeed! Together We Can Build a Better Tomorrow!