Virtue of the Month – Love

imageSt Michaels University School, from Tessa Lloyd at the Junior School

Virtue of the month for September 2015:  Love

Character development is a central component of your child’s education at SMUS.   At the Junior School we integrate the teachings of “The Virtues Project” into most everything we do.  The “The Virtues Project” is the work of Linda Kavelin Popov.  Since the early 90’s it has inspired and empowered both adults and children in diverse cultures around the world to live by their highest values.

At our school Virtues help us create an environment of respect, tolerance, patience, self-discipline as well as a joy of learning. We select a different virtue to focus on each month, and this virtue is brought to life in classrooms, in the hallways, on the playground, in Chapel and…at home.

We agree with the old adage that it takes a community to raise a child.  We are a team working together with you to achieve positive outcomes for your child and their learning is enhanced when the messages children hear are reinforced in their different environments.

Each month we share with parents some thoughts on our virtue which you’ll receive along with our monthly newsletter.  We hope this will help you foster thinking and discussion on the topic at home, and help you provide guidance to your child in awakening and developing their virtues.  A bulletin board (soon to be placed in the main hall) will provide student reflections and further insights on the virtue of the month.  In addition, at chapel on Monday mornings Reverend Fletcher’s stories lend depth and understanding to our Virtue of the month.  Please do join us -when your schedule permits- for this delightful start to the week!

Love, our focus for the month of September holds the trump card.  It is the compass point from which all other virtues are guided.   As educators working with your children we could do a very satisfactory job with our curriculum, pedagogy and skill-development.  But the element that brings all these to life is LOVE.  We love children.  We love YOUR children!  We extend our love to you, and know that when we do so, it comes back to us tenfold.  Without it, all would feel very hollow and mechanical.  Love is energising, it fills our hearts and makes difficulties or obstacles fade away.  When your children look back on their years at the Junior School they will remember a lot about what they learnt, but what will remain uppermost in their minds will be how they FEEL about their experience with us.    Here’s hoping they will remember how well loved they are!

How might we show love to those around us?   Make eye contact.  Give an expression that says  ”I understand”, or “I care”.  A smile.  A touch.  Warmth in the words that we choose.  Warmth in the way we deliver our message.  An offering of help.  All contribute to a warm, welcoming and inclusive environment, where we feel known, appreciated and cared for.   Mother Teresa said ” Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love”.  When we see that smile reflected, it grows and flourishes!

Love means to treat others with special care, warmth, respect, and kindness because how they feel is vitally important to us. When we practice love we treat others as we would like to be treated, we think loving thoughts, we say kind and loving things, we share ourselves and our possessions, we show affection, and we take good care of the people, places and things we love.

Here are some thoughts to foster discussion at home…

What does it mean to love?  Why is it important to love?  How should we practice love?  What does love feel like?  Sound like?  Look like?  How would you describe love to someone who has never experienced it?  What did you do today to show love?  How do you show love to yourself?  How can you show love to someone you don’t know?

What would love look like if …

You start to get upset with yourself about something you have done?

Your brother just spilt juice on a painting you just finished?

A child in your class annoys you with her cranky behaviour?

Your parents are exhausted and don’t feel like going out for dinner as they promised?

Let’s dig deep as the new school year unfolds before us, rally all the love we can and bring its beauty to bear in all our interactions.  As the song goes: “love is something if you give it away, you end up having more”.

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