Reading, Writing: What’s love got to do with it?

More than 15 years ago, I set out on a journey of self-love, to do whatever I wanted with my life, on my own terms. I fell into the lovely craft of writing children’s books, for love. Which led me into schools, religious institutions, day care centers, group homes, and recreational centers to speak on the power of the love of reading and writing, and soon to demonstrate to teachers how to teach literacy effectively, with love. I didn’t understand at that point that it was love guiding my efforts. Wasn’t aware I had stumbled onto a pedagogy of love. (I soon found others acquainted with the practice.)

With teachers, I bore witness to the power of love to ease children’s fears, calm their anxieties, dissolve violent and self-destructive impulses, move them to trust, open up their minds to learning, and their hearts to simple kindnesses. I worked with children one-on-one who were as many as seven grade levels behind in reading and writing. With love (patience, openness, understanding, hopefulness, encouragement, forgiveness, trust, strength, tenderness) as my guide, I saw boys, who were so angry (because of a lack of love) that all they did was curse everybody in sight, transform into the most cooperative and motivated spirits in the classroom. I saw girls who were so afraid of failure that they would refuse to try to read or write begin just weeks later to joyfully read and write in front of their classmates and identify as capable readers and writers. I witnessed children who barely could read and often frustrated their teachers and classmates with distractions become the best readers in their classrooms.

I blame love for it all.

Love is like the seed that is in itself. Love multiplies, elevates, and corrects errors, especially the erroneous thinking that those who are deficient in love have about themselves.

Where there is love, there is no fear. Not of family or friends, co-workers, situations, circumstances, places, or things. If we’re not loving, we’re not living. Let us begin with self and stretch out our hands in love to others through high-minded deeds, unselfish pursuits, and goals. And watch love pay us back with riches in peace, harmony, and happiness that no amount of skill in politics or technology, no amount of money or connections, and no quantity of strong drink or gratuitous activity could hope to match.
Let us ask ourselves: Who and what can we love more today?

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