Babies Teach Us How to Love Better

Babies Teach Us How to Love Better

I was recently able to spend a few days with my newest goddaughter who is only a few months old. As I spent time with her and her parents, I was reminded of a realization I had a few years ago. Babies are the easiest to shower in all five “love languages.”

The five love languages are words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, gifts, and quality time. Simply by nature, normal parents will be quite generous with each of these toward their children, particularly babies.

My friend Maria was continually cooing over her daughter, affirming how good and beautiful she was. It wasn’t something that she had to earn–her parents were quite taken with her as she did everyday things like eat, sleep, and giggle. And, what is more, they told her how pleased they were.

Babies are often fought over, as people will stand in line to take a turn holding the baby. At times, beyond needing a diaper changed or food given, babies will cry simply because they desire to be held close to someone.

Acts of service are a pure necessity with babies because, unlike most other animals, humans are born in a state of vulnerability that lasts quite a long time. They must be carried for several months, feed, bathed, and attended to in many other ways.

While often of a practical nature, babies have gifts showered upon them in the form of clothes, accessories, almost entirely frivolous shoes, and toys.

Finally, by their very being, babies require quality time. In part, because so many things must be done for them, but also because they need to be held, to hear a loving voice, and to be consoled.

Despite the ease of loving babies well, I find it quite difficult for that to transfer to the rest of humanity. With my students and co-workers, it is far harder to shower such generous love in all five ways. But recalling that this overflowing of love is necessary for the little ones made me wonder: what would happen if it was attempted in small ways for the more mature? What might happen if I daily affirmed my students in small ways, just for being them?

Continue reading “Babies Teach Us How to Love Better”

The Anticipation of New Beginnings

The Anticipation of New Beginnings

“Are you ready for school to start again?”

The short answer is no….but it will happen anyway.  And, although it will be crazy, busy, and a bit stressful, I will be glad when I am back into the “routine” of school.

I am not, however, one of those people for whom breaks are too long and is itching to be back in school.  At my young age, I’m quite certain I would make an excellent retired person…right now.  I enjoy traveling, being at home, reading, sitting in the sun, attending Mass when the rest of the working world works, and whatever else it is that retired people do.  I get a taste of it every summer and I believe I would do quite well with it as a full-time profession.

Yet there is a certain goodness about a new school year.  As a teacher, I have the luck of starting over each year.  There are new students (mostly), new energy (hopefully), and new faculty (always).  Even as I dread a bit of the crazy that comes with a new year, I cannot entirely squelch the excitement of beginning again.

Each beginning offers a new chance to do better than I did before.  And if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that with me, there is always, always plenty of room for improvement.  I plan for new ways to interest the students, new methods to interact with my staff, and new hope that this year I will be the missionary of the classroom that I deeply desire to be.  The new school year is home to my litany of new year’s resolutions for my teaching life. Continue reading “The Anticipation of New Beginnings”

First Week, Fourth Year

The first week of a new school year seems to feel the longest.  It was Tuesday this week when I realized it was only Tuesday and it felt like it should be Friday.  Yet by the time I reached Friday, I was getting into the swing of things.

As a veteran teacher (hello, fourth year!), I am enjoying knowing what I am doing some of the time.  When students ask me questions, it is often to rules or practices I have already established, questions that I have already answered in previous years.  Perhaps I am most excited about the fact that each year I feel more and more comfortable in my role as teacher.  I’m not completely at ease with my students, but I feel the most myself this first week that I ever have.  I know difficulties will arise, arguments, tough questions, senioritis, and sass, but I will take it in stride.  Thankfully, the Lord has been giving me the grace over the last few years of letting my students’ attitudes dictate less and less how I respond.  I don’t take things quite so personally anymore and it is only something that time could help me achieve.

Overall, my classes are pretty good.  My sophomore classes appear fun and respectful and my seniors seem to be willing to listen.  Yet I am going to refrain from naming too many more wholesome traits because it is only the end of the first week.  Time and homework will reveal their true colors.  My mind recalls my first year of teaching as being one of the most stressful and the students who made life difficult for me still stand out in my memory.  It is hard to tell if the classes are really that different or if the difference lies mainly within myself.  I am prone to think it is a bit of both but mostly the latter.

So here is to a good school year, one richly overflowing with blessings and all that the Lord desires to do in His good time.  And if all goes awry, I can turn to the intercession of a teacher who didn’t always have the most receptive audience, sometimes aroused anger, and whom we celebrate today–St. John the Baptist.