All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth
'You owe me.'
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.”
A few days ago, I received a pile of letters from some second graders I worked with last semester. More than one of them wrote, “I love you.” For them, I believe, the word is pure of intention, not so convoluted, complicated, and vulnerable as it can feel as we get older. In this statement, I hear appreciation and care.
I believe there is a place for love in the classroom. If nothing else, I aim for my students to feel support, validation, and even love, from me. I think even when we enforce expectations, we can do so in a way that communicates care. Do I have a hard time exuding this when I am tired/annoyed/exasperated? Definitely. But I keep coming back to that intention as a way of framing all else.
Jon Kabat-Zinn references the Chinese character for mindfulness as composed of the ideogram for“presence” over “heart.” So to truly practice mindfulness, we bring not just awareness, but loving awareness.
Inspired by these second graders, I ended my first period high school class yesterday by telling them explicitly how grateful I was for them. How appreciative I was that they showed up each day engaging to the best of their ability, and how much joy they brought me just in showing up.
Today, I invite you to practice mindfulness by being the sun, bringing the love in whatever form that takes for you, and basking in the light you create.