Live, Love, & Laugh has become a popular phrase of the 21st Century. You can’t take one trip through the home decor section without seeing this phrase plastered on a coffee mug, pillow, or even wall decal. To many, it has become just another cliche in the English lexicon but to others, these three little words have become principles to live by daily. I must admit that at one point in life, this very phrase made up my first Twitter handle because I wanted people to know me as a person who was free and, within this freedom, found pleasure in living boldly, loving others, and laughing at things that went right and those that went terribly wrong.
The beginning of August, for teachers across America, mark the start of the back to school season. If you are not already back to school, you are dreadfully counting down those days to the week of in-service. Many teachers will begin not only planning out their school year, but also reflecting on the past school year and how they can use those ups and downs to not only create a better year for themselves but also for their students.
As you reflect on last year and plan for a successful new year, I want you to ponder on the phrase: Live, Love, and Laugh. Allow these words to connect with you personally and consider how these words can transform the climate and culture of your classroom. Allow these words to become your classroom mantra and possibly your classroom non-negotiables. These three words hold power and not only can they transform the environment of your classroom, they also hold the power to transform you as the educator and, most importantly, your students.
When I think back to the teachers and educators who have made a tremendous impact on my life--Mrs. Miles, Ms. Hyde, and Mr. Conard, I think about the life, love, and laughter myself, and other students, experienced in their classrooms. As a broken and distraught youth, it was these experiences that brought me back for more and what began the transformation stage of my life. These teachers were not afraid to LIVE, meaning they let their guards down, as educators, and allow their students to see and understand that they were human beings. They showed us their imperfections and often times shared their stories with us to let us know that we were not alone in those sometimes dark spaces. They LOVED us passionately and devoted countless hours to showing us that we mattered when our surrounding environments did not make us feel that way. They treated us like their own children and when they saw a need, they sought to fill it even if that meant extra time on the clock or money from their own pockets. They showed us it was okay to make a mistake and loved us regardless of our actions. And lastly, they made us LAUGH and was not afraid to laugh with us. They were not afraid to share those embarrassing moments, if they knew it would cheer us up, and made every effort to show us that it was okay to laugh at ourselves and our imperfections. They built our confidence up and taught us that it was okay to live boldly and freely. This boldness and freedom is something that we should seek to pass on to our students, during this school year, and watch how it transforms their lives and our lives at the same time.
As you sit and begin to plan your successful school year, challenge yourself to open up and share your testimony of life. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down and passionately love on your students. Finally, keep in mind that it is okay to smile before Christmas. Matter of fact, when you or your students make a mistake, laugh at it and do so loudly. It will be okay! Live, love, and laugh. Allow yourself to be free. Most importantly, allow these three words to transform your classroom and transform lives.
Alexes M. Terry