“The truth – that love is the ultimate and highest goal that man can aspire.”

         – Victor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning

I read Victor Frankl’s book years ago as part of my master’s program. Reading it as a “have to do it” doesn’t create the same meaning as reading it because I want to.

As I’m reading now, I’m savoring his words, his thoughts, and most of all, his message. He witnessed horrors people should never witness. Yet, he found his way because of love. It seems simplistic, but that quote above just gave me the chills. As someone who is not religious, but is spiritual, this is what speaks to me.

The salvation of man in through love and in love.” – Victor Frankl

This also speaks to me in terms of social-emotional learning in our schools. How many of our students have spent MONTHS not feeling loved? Cared for? Wanted? Love is exactly what they need and we have to be the ones to give it. I hate talking in absolutes, but this is one of those times, we have to be giving students the time and attention they need from Day 1. If you are that teacher who doesn’t like kids, now is that time to be reflecting on why you do what you do. Normally, our time would be focused on a lot of school. We simply cannot wait.

And there were always choice to make.

Here, Frankl is talking about how decisions were made daily, hourly, that either helped prisoners either thrive or spiral downward towards eventual death. While not as drastic, we as teachers have to make those choices to be positive and be willing to share that positive energy DAILY with our students. Chances are, this attitude is not be modeled at home, so up to us to show that, even when it’s awful, we can look at the positive side of things.

The prisoner who lost faith in the future, his future was doomed.

It would be so easy to simply dismiss our students and their needs. We’ve been stuck at home, the online school wasn’t fun, and honestly, this summer hasn’t been great either. But we need to help our students to see that there is a future for them out there. Again, we have to be there with love and positive energy. Our students are coming back to us in a place no students have ever been, trying to process a pandemic and social unrest. They could see the world as a scary place and see very little in their future. So much good is out there, Day 1, we’ve got to keep pushing that growth mindset, that their longterm future is bright. If we don’t we’ll lose kids, and lose droves of them.

Here’s the thing about Man’s Search For Meaning, I’m about halfway done! I’ve enjoyed this book so much more reading it for pleasure and would recommend it to anyone looking for something a little different. It’s not easy. It’s not something that just happens, it has to be worked on daily. You can’t let up, you can’t ease up, you have to work on that positive attitude, on showing love, and helping others see that their futures are bright.

If we can’t, why do we do what we do?

And wear your damn mask. Just saying. 🙂