It took six days but I finally have my classroom cleaned out of 32 years of saving, creating, collecting, and reusing stuff! It only took five or six wheelbarrow loads a short trip to the dumpster and a LONG walk down memory lane. Deep in the corners of drawers, cupboards and shelves I found trinkets, artwork, and gifts I have received through the years. Precious things that a teacher just cannot throw away. Amongst these treasures were a variety of love notes from former students. Some scribbled on scraps of paper. Others drawn with crayons or markers and the paper filled with colorful drawings. Reading those forgotten notes brought back vivid memories of children I taught who are now adults with children of their own as well as students I have had more recently. Many letters had no name on them to identify the writer just the words “I love you” in a child’s print, but I saved them all just the same.
The offering of love is a precious gift. One that we should all freely give. Children seem to understand this better than we adults. Four little words, You’re the best teacher”, scribbled on the back of an old wrinkled spelling test years ago, filled me with such joy when I received it and again when I uncovered it last week. Six words…..”I wish you were my mother”. Three words….”I love you”. It seems so simple….feel something and express it, but we know that giving love is risky. We might be hurt or made fun of. The feeling may not be returned. We can think of many reasons for not opening our hearts to others. It seems easier just to keep it to ourselves.
After experiencing the overwhelming warmth of love I felt as I read each note I found, I’m determined to be braver and more willing to show others how I feel about them. Maybe it will be through a smile, a hug, a gift, or who knows, even through a love note. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It doesn’t have to be planned. It just simply has to be shared.
Before I started cleaning out my classroom, I promised myself (and my husband) that I wouldn’t bring too much home with me. I must confess though, that I could not bring myself to throw away those precious acts of love I had been so freely given. I tucked them away in a special box to be gone through again when my heart needs reminding about the wonderful power of a simple love note.