Tags: education, teachers, love, elementary teaching, mental health, positive attitude, pandemic, Valentine's Day, friendship, mentorship, counseling, influence
"Heal the world. Make it a better place for you and
for me and the entire human race!”
This is the week we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love and friendship and the joy of having that special someone by your side. I can remember when I was younger and single, Valentine’s Day was not exactly my favourite day of the year, but now that I have had my valentine, my husband Phil by my side, for almost 30 years, I certainly feel differently. Happy Valentine’s Day Phil by the way!
Love in general, never mind romantic love, is something we all crave and need. We all long to feel accepted and valued, and to know that someone thinks we are very special to him or her. Children are certainly no different. I have a wonderful career as a teacher, where I get to work with children each day. They are very tender hearted and loving individuals. Each year I am blessed to receive a beautiful assortment of cards, and pictures they have carefully
prepared and at times I see the words “I love you Mrs. R.” on them. This is one of the perks of my job, because receiving these make my day as these love notes absolutely warm my heart. I am always happy to display these masterpieces proudly around my classroom.
My priority as a teacher is to ensure that each child knows I care for him or her, and that I am there to help in any way I can. With this established first, the atmosphere for productive learning can then take place. Kids need love and positive interaction from caring, mentoring adults like never before. I consider it a privilege to be able to help to mold the next generation each and every day.
The song What the World Needs Now talks of “what the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” These simple phrases sum up what the world truly needs quite well. The world at present feels so divided. Every time you read a newspaper, or turn on the TV, you hear of people debating, a sense of sadness, and a raging pandemic with seemingly no end in sight.
My first career before teaching was a clinical social worker. My clients consisted of many individuals who were often struggling with addiction issues and major life challenges. As their stories would unfold, my heart would break as I knew how they so desperately needed someone to believe in them and show them they mattered. I tried to be that person, by showing them love and mentorship. I wanted them to see that they had the power to change their lives with self belief, hard work and taking “one day at a time.”
One particular individual was really making great progress in her recovery and kept saying each week “You wait and see Dana; I’m really going to make something of my life!” I believed in her 100%, and conveyed that to her often, never doubting that she indeed would do just that one day. Several years later, our paths crossed again, and she was still clean and sober and working at a non-profit agency as a receptionist. We were both so excited to have this conversation and to rejoice in her positive changes and accomplishments.
There seem to be so many people needing a little love sent their way during these challenging times. With so many needing loving words or actions, it can seem overwhelming knowing where to start.
Here are some simple action steps to take, to help make a difference in our world using the actual word LOVE as our guide.
L: Listen well.
When it comes to being a good listener, we need to truly listen when a person is speaking. This means to listen not just with our ears, but also to listen with our hearts. Hear what people are NOT saying as well is critical. Be skilled at "reading between the lines" and become comfortable with just listening without responding sometimes. This shows people our love and genuine concern for them, and provides them a much needed listening ear.
O: Open your heart to others.
Be on the lookout for where you could be a blessing, or offer a helping hand to others. Look for people in your life who need encouragement and offer it freely. It does not have to be a huge undertaking, but it is often the little, kind gestures that mean the most! A hug, a word of encouragement, a little prayer, a card or uplifting email can make a powerful difference to someone who feels down. Ask God to direct you to people you can touch in a positive way. He designs "divine appointments" for this very purpose!
V: Value and validate people.
Tell people how much they mean to you. It is not enough to assume people know how we feel. People need to hear it from you and when you vocalize this or write it down, you will be so glad you did! You may never know if today could be the last day you see that person. Those who may get overlooked are those quiet folks, the unsung heroes, or the faithful volunteers. Let them know you notice their efforts and they matter. It will mean so much to them! I have had amazing volunteers in my classroom. They are enthusiastic, faithful, dedicated and very committed individuals. I value them and let them know I am very grateful for their support in my classroom, and their beautiful mentorship they provide to my students.
E: Embrace opportunities
Put your talents and skills to work in different settings, even those that are out of your comfort zone. You may be led in a different direction then you could have ever imagined, and you will be given new people with whom to share your loving interactions.
I originally had no idea I would be a teacher. I was happy working as a librarian, but God clearly had another plan for me. Going back to school for teacher’s college was out of my comfort zone, but I am so glad I took that path. I am now right where I am meant to be in my happy, little, primary classroom.
I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Love is all around us, and remember when we show love to others, we end up a winner in the end as well.
Just as the little song goes: “Love is something if you give it away, you’ll end up having more!” Sounds like a win-win to me!
Until next time,
1 Corinthians 13:13: (The Voice) But now faith, hope and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love.
Little Lesson Learned: We all need to feel loved and valued. Don’t forget to let someone know how much you love and value him or her. Do it today.
Copyright © 2022 littlelessonslearnedbydana
Dana Romualdi is a Canadian elementary teacher, social worker, blogger, author, motivational speaker and recording artist. She has a passion for helping others and spreading much needed encouragement. She lives in Canada with her husband and two grown children. When she is not working or blogging, she enjoys drinking coffee, watching Netflix and reading great books.