February means red and pink hearts, lace, fabric, scissors, glue – a collage of loving kindness. It is one of the holidays I enjoy the most because I often celebrate it with school children. They decorate bags and boxes and envelopes in which to store all the valentines they will collect. They cut out jagged hearts with lots of glue and mounds of glitter and sequins. They make a joyous mess, and they are so happy and excited that their exuberance becomes contagious.
I am so very grateful that I have dedicated my life to teaching children and learning from them. I have strived over the years to be a positive presence, encouraging and hopeful. For my efforts, the children have given back to me so much more than I could have ever dreamed. Every day is truly a blessing, even when some of them face difficulties and do not show their best selves, especially then. It is then when I am most needed. It is then when I summon all the grace within me and find a path forward and hold out a helping hand.
This week, as Valentine’s Day approaches, I reflect on all the blessings children have bestowed upon me. though I am the teacher, they have showed me so many small, wise things. Their innocent perspective has allowed me to see circumstances in new ways. Their voices rise and fall with laughter. They know how to play and invite me along. I. have to sometimes force myself to peel off the layers of adulthood, the mantras of “I’m too busy!, Not now!, Later on!, Can’t it wait?” I have to move past all of the negative noise in my head and tune into the children. It always, always pays off and makes me a better human.