Though Valentine’s Day is usually perceived as a celebration of love between couples, St. Valentine was a fifth century Christian saint and martyr, who stood for love and compassion felt towards all – immaterial of a specific capacity – and for humanity in general.
Love is the basic ingredient of success and happiness, and education provides the platform to open up and nurture minds – young and old – unto that deliverance. At the heart of all education must be an all-encompassing, unconditional love – love for learning, love for children, love for knowledge and beauty, love for nature, and love for the world we live in. The love of the teacher for the child strengthens the love of the child for the environment. Right from Kindergarten, the child is led through stages of development towards balance, freedom of thought and a sense of responsibility. Children feel encouraged and rise (not fall!) in love for school education, which builds up their confidence and self-esteem.
This is then the true message of Valentine’s Day, which enhances the consciousness to work and to think not only for one’s own self, but for the good of the world. The role of the teachers in this education is of utmost importance. The teacher should have a unifying effect on the children in the classroom, where children enjoy working and playing together with security and without stress. When a teacher indulges in favouritism towards one child, or singles out another for needless admonition, it may result in conflict within the classroom and may even lead to bullying. Teachers carry the responsibility to create a peaceful environment, full of love and compassion.
Good relations between teachers and parents, PTA meetings and home visits develop mutual understanding and increase the love quotient in the classroom and the playground. Stories, poems and songs with the theme of unconditional love, go a long way in maintaining harmony and happiness.
Children look up to adults in general with love and admiration. But they also know that the adult world is far from perfect. However, there is always the effort on the part of most adults to better themselves, to be worthy of the child’s love and respect, and this is what is appreciated. Many people are disillusioned by the world we live in, especially in the cities, where one encounters aggression, dishonesty and corruption. But fortunately there are also encounters with those striving to better the world in their own small way, to express their love for others. And this is precisely what our children need to become aware of, to make the love and light grow in their hearts, for them to love and enjoy what education has to offer, to rise in love for education.