Editorial: All You need is Love

by Suzanne Bellsnyder, Editor

The recent topic on an episode of my favorite podcast was love. Timely since Wednesday was Valentine's Day, a day designated to showing love to our family and friends through gifts, flowers, and cards.

Love is a word that makes some people uncomfortable because we think about it only in terms of romantic love so much of the time. But love is the thing we have that will open doors to all relationships and the possibility in our lives.

Linda Cliatt-Wayman is a Pennsylvania special education teacher who stepped up as a principal and has now turned around several low-performing schools in her state. In a TED talk, Wyatt told her story and shared three slogans she said are the keys to her success.

First, she said to lead fearlessly, whether you are liked or not. Leaders are called to lead and to hold everyone accountable with an inspiring vision. Wyatt identified that her school was being held back by teachers and administrators who had low expectations for themselves and the students. Believing in the possibilities is an essential core value because without seeing who you can be or what you can do, nothing is possible.

Her second slogan was this: "So What, Now What". There are so many excuses and so many reasons that can hold back a school or a community, but a culture that works to eliminate excuses and find solutions can move the organization forward for good. A culture that values people who bring ideas and opportunities to the table will result in positive results. Don't be afraid to challenge the person in the room who makes the excuses or shoots the messenger. Be bold yourself and support others who do the same.

Her third slogan was this, "If nobody told you they loved you today, remember I do and I always will." So simple yet so powerful. Right? Imagine the impact that this simple phrase would have on a single mom struggling to make ends meet and provide for her family. Imagine a struggling student who may be dealing with unimaginable circumstances at home and the power of a simple "I love you," and I believe in you.

Hope, belief in potential, and high expectations will bring success. Whether applied to a school, community, or individual, the results are the same. The concepts fuel the fire for our communities and each other, and expressing our love and support is what can bind us together in a shared vision.

I have always believed that love is a verb that requires action, not just words. I am a fierce advocate for my community, the people I love, and the causes I believe in. I often aggressively pursue what I think is right and good, and my intentions are often misunderstood, and my actions misconstrued. I am broken and a work in progress, but I am also the person God made me to be.

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, and Valentine's Day fell on the same day this year. Lent, for me, is a special season where I am reminded of the Love that Jesus has for me, and this year, I am focusing on ways I can better show my love to my family, my friends, the people who challenge me, and our community.

So if nobody told you they loved you today, Hansford County, remember I do, and I always will.