The Role of Loving Care in Learning… and a Lesson from Dood, the Dog

I was recently offered an amazing reflection from my dog, Dood, which seemed to me to reflect the impact that loving care has on learning. Being a teacher, I have observed that children learn much more easily when they have a good connection with their teacher. This experience with my dog clearly and simply validated my observation that the relationship between teacher and student is fundamental and foundational for supporting student learning in all subject areas, especially in the area of basic self-care.

Dood spends his days outside in our extensive yard and on the verandah. He is allowed inside at night to sleep on his personal armchair. Dood usually sleeps on top of his pink blanket on his chair and I then place it on the verandah for airing during the day.

A few weeks ago winter hit unexpectedly, bringing with it cold winds that had a definite bite in them. This caused overnight temperatures to drop to the level of bitterly cold. So each night during this cold snap, I would tuck Dood in very lovingly to make sure that he remained warm overnight. I made sure his blanket cradled his whole body and pulled it up over his head to keep him snug, cosy and warm. Sometimes, I would sing as I did this and our nightly ritual always ended by my planting a tender kiss on the top of his head. Dood often sighed contentedly as I did this. This ritual ended when the cold snap passed.

A week or so later, we experienced the same winds during the day. Dood’s pink night blanket was as usual on the verandah fence airing, and his day bed, a cushion-y mat, was on the verandah floor. I had been in a room at the back of the house, however as I came back into the kitchen, my jaw dropped, as I noticed what Dood had done to keep himself warm from the bitter winds.

He had placed his day bed next to the dining chairs to shelter it. He had then removed the pink blanket from the fence where I had placed it for airing and had positioned it in a perfectly symmetrical way on his bed: somehow he had folded it in half straight down the middle so that it covered the bed squarely. He had then taken the top half of the blanket and used it very precisely to cover the whole of his body as he lay on the mat. Even his head was covered in the identical manner in which I had covered it the preceding week. And he was fast asleep, content and snug, just as he had been when I tucked him in myself during our nightly ritual.

I marvelled at the precision of the placement of the blanket and how he had managed to fold it meticulously in a straight line down the middle. Had he really accomplished all of this just by using his teeth?

As I reflected, I realised that ‘how he did it’ was possibly not as remarkable as the fact that he had done it, and that he was confirming the role of loving care in learning. Dood’s a dog and he has accomplished this skill with such ease because of the tenderness I was bringing to this task, and to him, every night for a week. He appreciated that and so could then master this skill, one of loving self-care, all by himself, under this shared impulse of warmth, tenderness and care.

Now, if a mere dog can master such an unlikely skill simply because of the care he felt, how important is loving care in supporting the learning of our children in schools?

I would say it is foundational and I question what we are all missing out on by not having care, love and tenderness as integral to our education system. What effect would this level of connection and inspiration have on the student–teacher relationship and so, ultimately, on learning and on the quality of ambient energy in schools?

Thank you, Dood, for providing this lesson in loving care.

Dedicated to all those who make life about Love and Truth and who  reflect what true education is and what is possible through loving care.

By Coleen 

Further Reading:
What’s All The Fuss About Self-Care?
Self-Love and Inspiring Love in Another
From resisting Self-Care to Confirming Myself

553 thoughts on “The Role of Loving Care in Learning… and a Lesson from Dood, the Dog

  1. I was talking to someone today about the loving and patient way they supported and led a group of adults, and how everyone responded to the love and care, remarking on the sense of equality from the person leading. When we feel settled in this way surely we can all learn and collaborate much more easily.

  2. Coleen loving care begins from an early age as we all deserve this from that tender young age. That care is not only for us but a reflection for others that anything is possible, animals included. They can feel energy just as much as we can, and have equal rights to any humans walking this planet.

    Loving care is in everything and I mean everything, from our home, car, our bodies our clothes and the list goes on. Even to the intricate detail of returning the shopping trolley instead of dumping it in the car space, loving care of returning food items back in their isles.

    So we have a responsibility too caring for everything, and just like a boomerang it comes right back at us.

    1. Thank you Shushila, every moment counts, I love what you’ve shared here and it’s like we can produce continual imprints of loving care throughout each day for everyone to feel, in every little detail.

  3. I loved reading this, an absolute Joy. Dood by name and certainly Dood by nature! Very touching and indeed a lesson for us all in the ripple affect true care and love has on all others 🐾 ✨

    1. A lovely example of how much we, and dogs, learn by example, ‘I realised that ‘how he did it’ was possibly not as remarkable as the fact that he had done it, and that he was confirming the role of loving care in learning.’

  4. Thank you Colleen, as so much can be observed when nature and life in general can be taken away from the usual pictures that keep us locked in un-evolutionary patterns, and living in the essence of who we are offers evolution.

  5. Serge Benhayon certainly does lead the way when it comes to self care, self love, Love, Truth and dedication to humanity. These are only a few of the qualities mentioned amongst many many others. A truly and deeply inspiring man who lives who we truly are.

  6. We all know self care and what needs to be done but the key thing is actually committing to do it. This is the magic that then is allowed to be lived by the body.

    1. Henrietta, self-care is a foundation that should never drop and if anything, we need to be building upon it to the point that it becomes refined even further. When we live with such responsibility, it is lived and felt in the body. What a marker for others…

  7. Coleen, this is hilarious – I absolutely loved reading this blog on your dog Dood and how he looks after himself …very endearing and also very inspiring.

  8. An amazing sharing that confirms the ripple effects of true care. Be self aware and never underestimate the quality of our movements to either nurture or harm another.

    1. If we go into hospital for an appointment then we can feel the level of care the staff member has for themselves by how they are behaving, and moving, and so it is with ourselves, what we live is what other people feel.

  9. ‘Now, if a mere dog can master such an unlikely skill simply because of the care he felt, how important is loving care in supporting the learning of our children in schools?’ I love this blog Colleen, not just because of the awesomeness of your dog but because it exposes the fact that so many parents do not even treat their children with the same love and attention you treated your dog. If we want our children to self nurture then as adults we have to model it for them..It is quite shocking how little we know of self nurture as a whole.

    1. I feel that’s part of the problem Michelle819 that adults do not know how to self-care themselves so it is impossible for them to pass this on to their children. Is it possible that this is how we keep ourselves from evolving by being so unloving towards ourselves and others? This way of living literally stunts our growth.

      1. I have slowly learned that every move I make in taking care of myself can be done functionally or in tender respect of my delicacy. When I am tender and gentle each time I add another layer of self worth in the foundation of my sense of vitality, health, self love and joy. I am only getting there because humbly someone else reflected this back to me.

    2. Just imagine how much children would naturally learn if they were always treated with love, care and tenderness, ‘He appreciated that and so could then master this skill, one of loving self-care, all by himself, under this shared impulse of warmth, tenderness and care.’

  10. We are offered so much when we are open to the many reflections we have around us… we are constantly being blessed in this way.

    1. And thank God for the reflections we see all around for without them we would not have the same accelerations of inspiration to change our lives.

    1. Spot on Andrew, it is in the quality that we do things in that carries the true inspiration to support another to make more loving choices in their lives.

  11. When we are treated with tenderness and care, we melt and so we are more open, and it makes complete sense that this is the foundation for all else, learning, working etc. It’s much harder to do something when we are closed off and hardened in ourselves, we miss the ease and magic that can be there and instead we have struggle, not the best way to learn anything.

  12. And of course when love is in one’s expression, in one’s voice, it is totally reflected in the tone… As is the absence of that connection within. As a consequence our children are at the mercy of a constant assault that renders their bodies into defense and hardness and numbness.

    1. Yes we can all sense the quality of the voice or spoken word in this way and it has a big impact on all of us on a daily basis and yet we give it very little attention usually.

    2. As a child I used to live in dread of teachers who were imposing or quite angry. When I was with a teacher who supported me to feel safe I let go a lot more and my body would be less tight.

      1. As children we read and feel our teachers, and respond accordingly. Children are aware of much more than many adults give them credit for.

  13. This shows me how important we are as role models, either as parents or teachers to our kids. If we show tender care for ourselves and for them, this has to rub off as a role model. Our behaviour now will produce the society we have when our kids grow up, so it’s vital we break the patterns for ourselves that we don’t want our kids to grow up repeating.

  14. What a beautiful reflection from Dood, how lovingly he prepared to look after himself and also how beautifully he copied the preparation you had made for him earlier, true care lovingly presented.

  15. We teach/learn by reflection. Even when we are not meaning to be teaching, our movement constantly communicates something for others to receive as an inspiration – good and bad. Just as children would copy everything what and how adults do things. It never works to try teaching anything without us living that first.

    1. Absolutely, we have to live what we would like another to learn, our movements are always conveying something to another.

  16. I was teaching India recently, and a kindergarten teacher said that what she had felt in the sessions was that missing ingredient she knew was always missing and that was love

    1. Our whole world, and what plays out with adults, reflects very clearly the lack of love in both education and life in general. The presence of love, in its true sense, would change everything.

  17. What an amazing support for Dood – to be treated with such care and love that he then picks this up for himself. This is a truly evolving dog and owner relationship.

  18. The Education System would change dramatically if love and self-care were introduced into the curriculum. Supporting children to hold onto their essence instead of crushing them is what children crave for the most.

  19. It would also be great if love tenderness and care also formed the foundation of the healthcare system, the retail industry, in fact any industry or workplace for that matter.

  20. Amazing what the dog picked up on and managed to emulate in terms of self care for himself; just goes to show that love is infectious.

  21. I smile non-stop when I read this blog, not just because of the pictures I can see of Dood and his rituals but because this level of care is available to all of us. We simply have to stop and honour what is going on for us and then make our next choice a self-loving one, even if it is tucking ourselves up in a blanket when it gets cold. Thanks, Dood for the wonderful life lesson. What a wonderful book it would make for kids.

  22. ‘How important is loving care in supporting the learning of our children in schools?’ This is important everywhere and more so at home as, the first teachers kids meet are their carers. If kids see their carers giving them permission and supporting them (the kids) with love and care, then they will embody this care as Dood the Dog did.

  23. We often take more loving care of our pets than fellow human beings! But that aside I love the fact of bringing love and care to learning and basically every situation and this gets easier to do when we love ourselves first because I notice when I don’t love myself tenderly, it is impossible to live outwardly in full.

  24. Such a beautiful and simple story showing us how deeply we feel love and tenderness and how much it supports and inspires us.

  25. We know that love, warmth and tenderness is the foundation for children and adults to thrive in family life, so it makes sense that if the education system was the same children would feel very supported to learn and grow.

    1. Yes, a very simple fact. And because we are not living it it shows the importance to put our life in focus there: how can we live more lovingly and with more care for each other, instead of continuing on the road of academia and all the knowledge based subjects. It is the love and care for each other that lets us strive never the subject matter or mere knowledge.

  26. I teach adults and the same is true with them. The connection between teacher and ‘student’ is so fundamental to learning and to appreciating the natural wisdom innate in us all.

  27. The relation teacher student is only unidirectional when we are considering t a subject (or set thereof) that someone has mastered and someone has not. But if we consider life as a whole, the role of teacher and that of student are not necessarily fixed ones.

  28. Gosh what a joy it is to read this blog again. I simply love this story and it’s simple reminder of how the expression of true love and care can offer more to another than we often care to realise, much less appreciate

  29. Yes, I agree, the relationship between student and teacher has an impact that is far reaching, ‘that the relationship between teacher and student is fundamental and foundational for supporting student learning in all subject areas, especially in the area of basic self-care.’

  30. “if a mere dog can master such an unlikely skill simply because of the care he felt, how important is loving care in supporting the learning of our children in schools?” I love this Coleen. Caring for ourselves isn’t something usually taught either in the home or in schools. Instead our role models -as parents and teachers – are the ones who don’t show themselves loving care – so what hope do our young ones have? When one feels deep self-love one cannot but care tenderly for oneself. Role models such as the Benhayon family palpably demonstrate this.

  31. What an amazing and beautiful story, the care and love Dood brought to himself having had it reflected from yourself, what a Dood.

  32. Yes if that connection is not there, its very difficult to teach, and the students are less willing and open to learn.

  33. Loving care allows us to understand and learn. Thank you for this Coleen as I was self-reflecting this morning, if we are ever confused about a part of life, caring for ourselves rather than pushing to know and understand is far more sucessful when it comes to learning about quality of life.

  34. The way you feel, the level of ease you feel is vital to learning. They say there is a good level of stress that makes you learn better. I would say this comes with the use and drain of nervous energy and the fear of getting it wrong. Whereas in an environment where you feel loved, valued and seen for who you are, without any pressure to achieve, there is a freedom to learn and explore and even go beyond what has been presented.

  35. Dood the dog, how gorgeous and what a wonderful lesson he shared with you. A beautiful reflection if we are open to learning, as you were Coleen.

  36. An amazing confirmation of the power of our reflection to inspire even a dog to be more loving – all our movements are being clocked by others and constantly offer an opportunity for another to evolve.

  37. Amazing (and very sweet) this just shows how important it is to live with love and care for both ourselves and others and the reflection and impact this has on others and yes then how important is it that ‘loving care in supporting the learning of our children in schools?’ Also loving the shout out to Serge Benhayon who indeed ‘always makes life about Love and Truth and who constantly reflects what true education is and what is possible through loving care.’ and is a true inspiration to all … he has most certainly supported and helped me to love myself far more than I have ever done and this is continually unfolding.

  38. We learn so much more by actions than words, and the quality of the actions definately effects the quality of the learning.

  39. How easily we can learn when love is presented to us without and expectation or demand or any emotional attachment, the education system could definitely learn a thing or two from your beautiful example Coleen.

  40. There is no end to what we can all can learn of our true way of being, whenever we surrender to the being guided by love. Imagine how amazing school would be if we were confirmed from day one to be who we already are in essence, to live in honor of our equalness and with the confidence to walk in the power of our connection to our love within, through whatever we do. Thank you Coleen, for sharing how through loving connections we truly learn and grow in a way that supports us to live the power of who we are.

  41. I actually think that without teaching how to care and love yourself we are creating the greatest disservice to our children. Educating their minds without educating them on the basics of living with care is like treating them like robots.

  42. Thanks Coleen… and building this relationship is so dependent on the tone of voice used by teachers in communication ( as we know) and I’m sure Dood would have something to say on this …☺

  43. As I reflected, I realised that ‘how he did it’ was possibly not as remarkable as the fact that he had done it, How absolutely beautiful how Dood has been confirming the role of loving care in learning. Your tender care and of course the reflection of living this level of care for yourself everyday is why he did what he did and why children will simply learn what they need when there is a role model like you standing before them.True teaching Coleen.

  44. I love this blog Coleen. The image of Dood melting with the love and care you provided him and then being able to provide the same self-care is amazing. Doesn’t this ultimately show the responsibly we have as role models to our kids? If we show them what true love and care is, they will be able to apply it for themselves.

  45. The way your dog replicated the tenderness and care you treat him with is remarkable; and as you say, it doesn’t matter how he did it – teeth, tail, paws and all – what counts is the fact that he did it and with such unbelievable precision.

  46. It’s funny how we see the relationships and the simple care we build with a dog as lesser or so different to the ones we have with other adults. It’s like we think because we have words, we must be experiencing and sharing something so advanced. My experience is the contary, that these deep and understanding bonds we build with Loving gestures have so much to teach us about how we might all interact. I feel our world would be so helped if we spoke less but let Love come through so much more in our every movement and action. Thank you Colleen for this touching (dog’s) tale that makes me want to jig for joy and stop wagging the finger and being annoyed.

  47. Self care should be part of education. I don’t see it enough in the world and I don’t see how this is integrated into how we are living and the choices we are making in each moment. We have an opportunity here to change this – and each person who does is a living reflection to another. We can as a humanity inspire each other rather than criticise each other.

  48. The word teacher implies the word student, but there is no reason why to confine that relationship within the school context or to the subjects we learn in school. And this is when this relationship starts to become interesting. Each of us is as much a teacher as a student and there is so much each of us can teach and learn from each other! We are very lucky. We get so many different reflections a day that has a potential to shift, trigger or confirm something in ourselves. We have to embrace the world… of reflections.

  49. Such a simple example of how we can always learn from others – big, small, animal or nature. If we choose to see them, there are reflections everywhere.

  50. In schools today where it is all about academics, with no love whatsoever it would be superb if this sort of thing became the most important lesson ever as the better we are able to treat ourselves, the better we will treat others. If Dood can do it anyone can!

  51. We can’t expect schools to teach loving care, as this is so far away from their present way of working. It than comes down to the parents of showing children how to self care and self love. But then parents have to practice self care consistently themselves otherwise it does not work. Children and basically any kind of human being don’t do what we tell them, they do as we do.

  52. Love is found in the fine details of our daily living and how we in turn care and nurture ourselves has a flow on effect to all we encounter and that is much to appreciate. Dood the dog is one super cute doggie Coleen, thank you for sharing your blog.

  53. This really shows that if we are taught that it is okay to nurture ourselves and take care, paying attention to detail we, more often than not, will do so.

  54. A great reflection of the power of unknowingly teaching self through being loving… and a great reminder to you of what you can teach the children in your class through how you are with them daily, whilst the rest of the education system takes its time to recognize the importance of self-care as a fundamental part of the curriculum and the children’s lives.

  55. ‘Now, if a mere dog can master such an unlikely skill simply because of the care he felt, how important is loving care in supporting the learning of our children in schools?’ It is crucial as there is no true learning without love and inspiration by someone who lives loving care for her or himself.

  56. I love this lesson from your dog because it shows that if we are open to it we can learn from everything that is around us. What is required is an openness and a humbleness to learn.

  57. Once we are shown what loving tenderness is, what nurturing is, it is imprinted upon our very being for us to call upon if we so choose it. We may choose to forget about it, but it is always there as a memory of a feeling.

    1. That is the great value of The Way of The Livingness, we are offered a marker, a palpable feeling in our bodies that we can then refer to if we so choose and do not have to rely on knowledge or a picture or thought in our mind.

  58. This is gorgeous to read Coleen, who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? This is a beautiful example of the power of our Livingness and the reflection we offer can inspire others (even animals) to also make more loving choices.

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