Without Love, the 1973 hit written by Tom Johnston, lead vocalist and songwriter with the Doobie Brothers, draws you in from the first chord. It begs you to sing it – to answer the recurring question, “without love where would you be right now?”
Down around the corner, half a mile from here
See them long trains run, and you watch them disappear
Without love, where would you be now?…
Recently I came upon the reflections of an unknown teacher talking about what she sees in her kids (her students). I haven’t verified the source or the authenticity, but I like much of the sentiment as she (I assume) puts milestones (success) into the perspective of love:
When I look around my classroom I couldn’t tell you who crawled first, who walked before one of spoke in sentences by 15 months. I can’t tell you if their parents breastfed or boatel fed. No clue if they still wear pull-ups at night, because I’m sure many do! I don’t know if they potty trained at 18 months or 4 years old. I don’t know if their mom ever left them to cry it out for a few minutes or if they strapped them to their bodies 24/7.
You know what I can tell you when I look at my kids? I can tell which families value kindness and manners in their homes. I can tell when a child feels loved and secure at home (and at school which sadly isn’t always everyone’s school experience!) I know who has pizza and movie Friday nights and which mom reads in different voices for bedtimes. I see how kids handle scary situations like thunderstorms. I can see who has a solid routine at home and who has chores and responsibilities. I can hear how you speak to your children by how they speak to others.
When I look at my little friends I don’t see their milestones, I see who they are: their heart, their actions, their inner voice, their struggles and triumphs, and I see you; and all the love you pour into them. We are always supposed to talk about testing and benchmarks and data during parent-teacher conferences and I had a mom last time look at me and say, “I don’t worry about all the reading and math, she will get there. I want to know… how is she, as a person? Is she kind? Does she include others?”
That took my breath away and is something that will always stick with me!!!
Go easy on yourselves mamas, just love your little ones… it’s all they need.
Is love all they need?
As parents, we know it’s not simply the either/or of success vs. character; it is the both/and of life. We want our children to succeed, even if we haven’t articulated to ourselves what is “success” – and – we want our children to grow in a wider sense of life, to be persons of character and kindness.
Indeed success takes on nuance as we come to know and accept our child’s personality, personhood, and aptitudes. I am not sure love is all they need… but without it where would they be now? Without love nothing else matters. Without love nothing else succeeds in the wider sense of that word.
From the ancient text we read:
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Jesus put success into perspective when He said,
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
So I ask, “without love where would you be right now?” Or to put it differently:
“Because of love where are you right now?”
For more go to “Quia Amaste Me“.