Love and Education

Posted on February 9, 2016 by Leslie Ann Daniels

“Every heart that has beat strong and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

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I have always appreciated how the month of February refocuses our attention on the most valuable gift we could ever give or receive. What I am referring to is, of course, the gift of LOVE.

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I often wonder what this world would be like without love. I honestly feel that all would cease to exist. Without love, we could not maintain a healthy, supportive relationship with one another. Without love, we could not communicate in a rational, constructive manner. Without love, there could be no real understanding of one another’s inner feelings or outer expressions.

In a family centered education such as Oak Meadow, it is extremely important for us to keep our focus on the role that love plays in our lives. Throughout my course of parenting, I have sometimes asked myself, “Do I share my love in a manner that is truly felt by my family? Do I express love through my heart, or am I too much in my head and unable to express love in a tangible manner that my children can feel?” I have learned that the more warmth and love I share with my children, no matter what their ages, the easier it is to develop and deepen our family relationship.

Other questions I sometimes ask myself are the following: “Does each member of my family have an understanding of one another? Do we share points of agreement in order to bring forth a greater harmony in the family unit?” Creating harmony in a diverse family is not always an easy task! When my family enters into a disharmonious situation, and it can’t seem to be worked through on its own, I have often found that sharing a family activity together has been extremely beneficial. For example, we find pleasure in taking walks together or playing games together, whether it be charades or a board game or even magic tricks. When my children were young, there was nothing my family loved more than to snuggle under the covers after a long, tiring day and read a good storybook together. Whether it be exploring in nature, singing and playing music, reading aloud together, etc., it is the harmony that brings forth a deeper, more bonding relationship.
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One thing we need to keep in our mind and in our hearts is that, for relationships to grow, we must nurture them by giving acceptance, support and affirmation of the goodness in each other. We must not be be bothered by or too focused on the temporary ups and downs of our personalities. Communication, both verbal and nonverbal, is an important aspect of developing healthy relationships. Every drawing or painting we receive from our children, every conversation we engage in, or every touch we share, is an opportunity to communicate from the heart. If we want to form deep, loving relationships, we need to grab these opportunities before they pass by!

Oak Meadow’s co-founder, Bonnie Williams, once imparted words of wisdom that I would like to share with you. She wrote, “If we can convey that life is a journey that we undertake with others, and the most valuable part of the journey lies in the relationships that we share, we will have done a lot to help the family unit. As we learn to open our hearts more fully, we will be able to experience the fullness of life. The resolution of polarities cannot come about through ideas or the mind, but through the heart. Exploring the ways in which we can share more of our hearts with those around us is very important.”
LOVE is the essential element of life, and in my personal opinion, it is the greatest treasure on Earth. I have always told my children that love is also like magic. If we simply give a little away, it will come back to us doubled. Truly it will!
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