Love and School
I was speaking to friend recently that mentioned how working with kids is such an important role, because we have the opportunity to teach children what it means to value manaakitanga (extending love) in a world that desperately needs more love.
It really got me thinking about the role love has to play in a school, particularly a Christian school.
The Message Translation describes love like this –
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end
I love the importance the Bible places on love. I believe the Bible teaches us about a strong, honest love. A love that asks us to worry less about ourselves and what we deserve and want to achieve, and more about what we can offer others. I find the first part of 1 Corinthians 13 a challenge, because it can be very tempting to do good things out of the wrong motivation, but the passage of scripture is very clear that without the motivation of love we are just making noise. I’m often challenged about whether I am giving to charity or offering my time because I truly love the people I’m helping or because by doing these things I appear to be a good person. I’m also challenged by God’s call to love all people, because all people are precious to him and bear some aspect of Him, but we don’t always find it natural or easy to love every person for who they are.
Children are constantly learning. They learn not only from what we say, but also what we do. As parents and teachers we are their examples of love. The way we treat them and the way we treat others around them matters. Are we patient with them? Do we show them kindness? Do we think more about them than ourselves? Do we give up on them? Do we work humbly with others around them? Do we forgive them and also offer them an apology when we do something wrong?
When I taught 6 year olds it was fascinating watching them play ‘schools’ during a wet break time. To hear the tone of voice the teacher used in the game and things they would say said a lot about the type of teacher I am. Some days this was encouraging and other days it required a good look in the mirror.
Our children are the future of our country. When I am old I would dearly like to live in a country where love is evident. As an educator I have great hopes and expectations that our students will learn everything they need to know to choose a career path that will bring them challenge and joy, but I also want to see students that demonstrate love in what they do, whether they are a lawyer, a doctor, a politician, a plumber, an educator, or even an occupation that currently doesn’t exist.
They will learn this from us.
So I pray that we will all experience God’s love in our own lives; that we might love straight from a place of knowing that we are greatly loved by the one who is Love.