Redefining love on Valentine’s Day

Ariel and her son

Every February in Odyssey classes, students start an essay with the two words, “I love.” We ask them to think beyond Hallmark cards, Cupid and romantic evenings to other kinds of love. Here are some of our student responses:

“I love the way my son hugs me. He wraps his little arms around my neck tightly, putting his soft cheek against mine. His hugs provide a joy and warmth in my heart that literally takes my breath away. I never knew such a tiny being could make you feel so loved and safe.” (Aerial)

“I love to laugh. I love the overwhelming sense of happiness, joy, excitement, and even a little pleasuring pain from the muscles that contract from long, heavy moments of chuckling. It’s as if my spirit is lifted high above the clouds, and all sense of worry, fear, or stress has left. Even if it is for a moment, a laugh can change or shift the atmosphere.” (Ron)

“I love to learn. I feel good in my mind and heart when I learn a single word. That single word sends me far out of my ignorance, and it feels wonderful to me. That feeling pushes me to work hard every day to accomplish my goal.” (Carmen)

“I do so love Jamaica for its rhythmic island beats: ska, reggae, and dancehall. I do so love Jamaica for its cuisine, like the classic ackee and saltfish meal. I do so love Jamaica for the beautiful blue beaches with white sand, the green of the land, and the golden sunshine. I do so love Jamaica for the beautiful language that we speak, patowa: ‘Whey u deh pon?’ What’s up?” (O’Shane)

Many other responses have poured in over the 18 years of our program, including “I love Odyssey,” “I love my Webster’s,” “I love Black people,” “I love dialogue” and “I love peaches.” Read more student responses in our most recent Oracle.

Read the Oracle