We were in the car the other night on the way home from a dinner out. We brought two cars because I came straight from work.
The big three decided to ride home with mommy. I was with the little guy (who’s actually not so little – our three-year-old outweighs his four-year-old sister by a few more than a couple pounds at this point).
Just into the drive I heard a sleepy voice from the back seat asking, “Daddy, are we on a height?”
“On a height?” I clarified.
“Yes,” he told me, and then he went on to request and inform, “Please tell me when we’re on a height because I’m afraid of heights.”
I assured him that we were not on a height and that I would let him know if we happened upon one. He thanked me.
Then I asked him if he knew about the thing inside of him, and inside of all of us that can help us when we’re afraid. I was fishing for “courage.”
With great confidence this old-souled munchkin chinned-up, perpetrated a wide smile and a raised eyebrow, and he told me in no uncertain terms, “I do know about the thing inside that can help us when we’re afraid!”
I peeked in the rear view mirror, suggesting, “Go on, “ to which he enlightened me (as kids so frequently do).
Of course! Love!
Love’s the thing we can use when we’re afraid. We can use it when we’re sad, when we’re frustrated, when we’re angry, when we’re confused, when we’re down on ourselves, when we feel hurt by others, when we’re not sure where to go next, when we slip and fall off course, and any time we need a boost or a reminder that things are going to be alright.
The Beatles told us, and I almost forgot, “All we need is love…love is all we need.”
For us parents and educators we’re headed into the tail end of the school year. There’s so much to do and so much to think about right now.
If you’re feeling like me you’re not sure how it’s going to get done. You’re not sure that it is.
The challenging news is that it’s not. It never does.
The exciting news is that you’re going to prioritize and make sure the stuff that needs doing does get done. You always do.
Three-year-old wisdom reminded me that I can trust love to help me navigate the challenges and the triumphs of the next couple of months.
If you’re interested, take a moment to make a shortlist of what love does for you.
Here’s my go at it:
Love reminds me that I’m connected to those around me.
Love helps others know that I care about them and that they care about me.
Love puts things in perspective.
Love frames even the most challenging challenges in bright, colorful ways.
Love draws out possibilities.
Love inspires hope.
Love scaffolds optimism.
Love drives confidence.
Love makes it ok to be wrong and to genuinely listen for rightness from others.
Love reminds me that there are perspectives outside of my own, and that even when I struggle to understand them they’re real and critically important.
Love provides opportunities.
Love smashes stubborn pride and supplants it with healing humility.
Love brings me peace.
Love grounds me.
Love makes me know that anything is possible.
Love shows me that light shines even in the darkest corners.
Love feels good.
Love simply feel good, and if the past forty-forty years is a sampling of how fast this life moves, I’d like to feel good as much as possible.
There’s my one-minute shortlist on what love does for me. Writing it was a worthwhile exercise. I recommend it.
Parents and educators, when you’re feeling like it can all get done, when you’re worried about how the next moment, the next day, the next week, or the next month can possibly unfold in right ways, when there’s too much to do and not nearly enough time, when you’re worried, flustered, and super-stressed, try to remember about love.
If you can do nothing else in any given moment, try to shower yourself and those around you with love.
You might not be able to teach them everything you wanted to, you might not be able to see each of them mastering every standard by June 15th, you might not have unfolded every plan or fulfilled your vision of how this school year would unfold, you might be light years off, but you do have the power to shower those kids with love.
Start with yourself, be ok with it being ok, and then no matter where you are along the journey, no matter what you’ve accomplished or not, you can make love the priority from this point forward.
We all need it. We need it from ourselves and from each other.
Easier said than done? Maybe.
Possible? I think so.
In it together for the kids!
Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead. Thanks.