The Power of Love


With all of the heated aftermath of the Valentines Day massacre still swirling around the atmosphere, I have been seeing multiple different perspectives come forth.  The ones that have stuck with me the most, however, are the ones that demonstrate the power of love, either by its presence or its absence.

One video in particular that stayed with me was of a man who was reading a pre-written speech, filming himself in a bathroom mirror.  He revealed that he, too, might have been a school shooter if he had access to guns, simply because he felt unloved and left out.  His life circumstances sucked, and his experience at school did nothing to build him up, but rather everything to tear down what little he had left.

As a teacher, I see several students like this on a daily basis.  Many of them may not be severe cases; friends that are outside of school, loving families, a super-resilient kid, all of which can be the deciding factor between going haywire and just feeling momentary, normal bouts of sadness.

But there are some kids who don’t have that.  Children with parents who outright ridicule and hate them.  Children with parents who are so wrapped up in their own lives they don’t notice when their children begin retreating inward.  Children who then come to school and, because we as a human race are sensitive to the energy other people put out, have problem after problem there as well.

Even I have found myself naturally avoiding certain students or people because the vibes they give off are so off-putting I feel the need to protect my personal state of being.  Yet it only takes a small bit of light to dispel darkness.  If we keep the need in our minds to SPREAD the positivity after it has been cultivated in our hearts, we can do a lot of good.

The power of positive love is demonstrated most harshly when we look on a life where it has been conspicuously absent.  Babies who do not get cuddled and held simply do not grow and/or are in actual danger of dying.  Senior citizens who don’t get visitors are noticeably more depressed than those who do.  Even a garden, when neglected, is overgrown with weeds.

Love is a powerful force, subtle when it is present, but alarmingly potent when it is absent.  We should make it our mission to make sure that everybody who shares a moment of our lives feels a least a small morsel of love from us.

Whew….just thinking of the amount of effort and presence that would take is exhausting!  But like anything, repetition lends itself to ease. Not to say that there won’t be days when you fail….but consciously thinking about it will dramatically improve the amount of positivity you are able to spread, not to mention the benefits you will feel personally.

And the effort is well worth it.  I am reminded of the power of love each time a student writes me a note, or tells me that I’m they’re favorite teacher, or comes up at the end of class for a hug.  I know that I am not the greatest teacher in the world; my lessons can be boring, my planning is sometimes rushed, and I don’t always give the feedback to my students’ writing like I should.

And yet, I will forever and always be proud of the types of relationships I can have with my students because, being energy-sensitive human beings, they can TELL that I love them.  As much as they drive me nuts, I love being able to spend time with them and make an imprint on their lives.  And they naturally are drawn to that no matter how  terribly long the minutes in my class may seem.

So I turn to you:  What can you do in your life to ensure that you are properly using the power of love?  What are the things that get your positive energy flowing?  How can you harness those awesome vibes and not only hang on to them for yourself but spread them around to the people that you come in contact with?

For me, it’s usually the simple things: smiling a people you pass by (you’d be surprised how often you DON’T do this), putting a bit of extra cheer in your “good morning!” greeting, carrying on a small conversation while walking rather than walking along in silence.  Once you start thinking about ways to spread the love, it’s actually quite easy to interject into your daily life.

In my experience, the more positive you are, the more initial push back you will get from the energy that either is negative or that is used to staying in a neutral state.  I have had many people dislike me or my actions because they didn’t understand where I was coming from (granted, I do have a pretty strong personality, and this may also cause some backlash).  However, once people get past the tsunami force of my presence, they usually appreciate what I can bring to the table.

So you may, in trying to spread positivity and love, may experience some resistance.  I would encourage you to keep loving anyway.  The power of love is a marvelous thing, and you will be surprised at who or what you might influence.

How have you experienced the power of love?  Talk to me in the comments!

Dear Congress; Love, A Teacher


Dear Congress;

On Valentines day afternoon, one of my friends forwarded the news article to me and said “as a teacher, you can stop this.  And change the world.”  You know what article.

Oofda.  Talk about a tall order.  And I have enough faith in myself to know that I am constantly infusing my classroom with positivity and light, which hopefully DOES change the world…

But I only encounter under 200 lives a day.  That’s my sphere of influence right now.

Dear Congress, you impact the NATION.  Your laws or lack thereof send a ripple effect that can rip the shroud off the window and shed rays of light through our homes or tack it harder in place, hiding the glorious views of what could be.

Dear Congress, I’m going to be honest with you.  I’m starting to get scared.  I’ve heard of shootings all of the country, but it was always ‘somewhere else.’  That can give one a lot of false comfort.  But those places ‘somewhere else’ are buildings just like mine…classrooms where kids work and learn and goof off and make friendships and learn about heartbreak and experience their first taste of semi-independent life.  Hallways where thousands of feet walk, run, and dance.  Quads where laughter, tears, and music can be heard.  Familiar, safe places….until they are not.

Dear Congress, I know your job is tough.  I know there are things going on behind the scenes that are deemed too classified or too rough for the public to consume.  I know it sucks to be the bad guy.  I too have felt the the burning eyes ignited by unpopular decisions—taking away phones so kids can learn is never welcomed, nor is giving a failing grade ever considered ‘earned’ by the failing party.

But guess what, dear Congress.  That’s my job.  That’s why I signed up for.  My job is to teach, to love, to guide, and to influence.  How would our next generation turn out if I took all this power and responsibility I was given and simply…didn’t use it?  I have been offered countless amounts of money by students to raise grades, ‘forget’ about assignments, and/or let the class simply run amuck.

Is that what I should start doing, Congress?  My paycheck isn’t very big compared to yours, and an extra couple bucks here or there would buy me a couple round of beers on a Friday afternoon.  No harm, no foul, right?

But yet, dear Congress, something keeps stopping me.  Integrity.  Such a small word, only four syllables, yet the lack of it can cause complete and utter chaos.

If I haven’t yet convinced you, dear Congress, lets move our lens to a different sphere.  Responsible, caring, gun-owning parents teach their children about a gun’s proper use and keep them locked away when they are not needed.  You are the parents of the United States family.  You have required us to learn about cars before we can drive them.  You have enforced certifications before operating certain potentially deadly equipment.  You have even created a compulsory education system so that our nation as a whole is composed of semi-functional human beings.

And yet, here we stand, with at least seven (or more, depending on your definition) school shootings before the end of the second month in 2018.

Unfortunately, dear Congress, I can only only write down on paper cold numbers and facts and hope that you take notice.  I cannot present to you the warm blood that spilled from each victim’s bullet wounds.  I cannot ply you with the last few heartbeats of someone’s child, someone’s partner, someone’s father as they lay dying in the hallways that, once familiar and comforting, seemed alien and harsh as their spirits left their bodies.  I cannot display for you the constant sobs of a mother whose son was ripped away from her with simple tap of the trigger.

There are some things that you can’t quantify.  But those are the things that should matter the most.

Dear Congress, I pray that you never have to lose a loved one to violence that someone else could have possibly prevented.  I pray that you never have to cower behind your (much more expensive) desks and send frantic goodbye texts to your loved ones.  I pray that you never have to look over and see your secretary or intern or fellow public servant staring at you with unseeing eyes as carpet beneath them becomes warm and sticky and red.

Dear Congress, I hope to God that I never have to experience this for myself.  But way too many of my colleagues around the nation already have.  I have gone over and over in my head the best way to barricade my classroom, where I should have my students’ huddle, and how I hope to God I’d be brave enough to take the shooter down if I had the opportunity.  I would bet my paycheck that every single teacher in America has strategized these things as well.

We have 1.4 million self-selected citizens in the military, where they are trained how to react to situations like this.  Yet we have over 3 million teachers who are attempting to plan the same thing, with no training and no choice.

Dear Congress, there is a reason I chose to become a teacher and not a member of the Army or Navy or Air Force.  I’m sure there is a reason you decided to run for office too.  I hope to God that those reasons are still on the forefront of your mind today, and that they are right and pure and strong.

Dear Congress, America needs you.  America needs you to stand up and keep us safe.  Not all heroes wear capes, but the heroes that have sprang up to help out at each terrible shooting are not bulletproof.

Dear Congress….this is your moment.  Seize it.  Please.

Love, a teacher.