23 July 2024
Lifestyle

Love is…

February has been full of love, full of romantic gestures and a groundbreaking month due to the new law voted in Greece about same-sex marriage, so what better topic to talk about than love? But, what is love? Is there more than one kind of love? Is it a universal truth or a subjective matter? Does each one of us understand love in our own way or do we all have the same understanding of love? These were all questions raised in class by students during our Valentine’s events.

I don’t want to share correct, proper opinions I want to have and endorse proper opinions

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Every month on the 14th of February, I spend quality time with my students and talk about different aspects of love. Last year we shared compliments and things that we like about each other. We called that our “Jar of love”. This year I thought that we should concentrate on the definition of love and self-love, so we spent two days talking about it and discussing in depth our opinion, and our definition of love.

In the first part of our discussion, we did some exercises where we had to write down what we love about ourselves, what we are proud of and about our most precious characteristics. I was surprised to see that no matter the age no one really knew what they liked about themselves, and struggled to complete the assignment. They had never thought about self-love or even considered what they truly like about themselves, what makes them unique… I would say that such an exercise was eye-opening for many of my students and helped them gain confidence by sharing their thoughts and sharing out loud what they believe about themselves without any judgement. It was such an empowering exercise that even though it’s quite early in the year, really reflects on their overall performance and their presence in class.

In the second part of the discussion, we took tiny wooden tiles and wrote our definition of love; and as you can imagine the response was extremely varied, versatile and utterly interesting. We talked about romantic love and the butterflies in the stomach, we talked about ice cream and chocolate as well as pain and divorce and all the shocking yet eye-opening contemplation about it. We talked about qualities, independence, human rights and inclusivity in all its forms…

The most staggering part of this discussion was that many of my kids consider love as pain and darkness and others consider divorce and separation as the ultimate act of parental love. Just imagine what happens when all these different opinions are expressed in the same discussion and how such discussions lead to something truly impactful.

In this way, an amazing discussion started, and while everyone thinks differently about love, we learn to respect and understand others. We did not avoid any topic, and the kids were amazed because unfortunately, it’s quite rare to be able to speak freely, share your thoughts and more often than not insecurities and questions with others in a safe and judgement-free environment. But at the end of the day isn’t it what we all need?

A heated topic that kids were eager to talk about is same-sex marriage and the right to child adoption. Naturally, it is a complex issue about which kids do not know what to believe as they are bombarded by all the different opinions and mindsets led by a society that tries so hard to escape the restraints of the past by taking baby steps forward but in the same time being quite narrowminded and oppressive and significantly religion led. This imprint on the kids’ minds is hard to erase but that is what discussions are for and that’s why teachers should maintain a safe and loving environment where all opinions can bloom into something beautiful.

Lastly, I would say that it is our duty teachers to try to filter out everything that’s happening around us no matter how small or how big, and transfer it, interpret actually in the classroom and use it as food for thought for students to consider evaluate and assess based on their experiences, qualities and life ideals.

More importantly in the context of expat life, it is extremely crucial for people who travel constantly and change countries to understand that love knows no boundaries and can transcend language, ethnicity, and nationality, or religion.Forming connections with people from all walks of life gives us the opportunity to experience different mentalities and perspectives. Our children deserve to become champions of love and understanding and try to create a more harmonious and inclusive world for all.

Signing off, I will use a quote that I had read that said “ I don’t want to share correct, proper opinions I want to have and endorse proper opinions” and that is what makes teachers such an integral part in students’ evolution into sensible adults.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions on this matter.

I am just an email away ✨

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