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 Serge Benhayon, who always makes life about Love and Truth and who constantly reflects what true education is and what is possible through loving care.

By Coleen Hensey

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

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

  1. Love is a greater teacher – our whole ‘being’ opens with the balm of love and readily takes in all that is on offer. When you were preparing and tucking Dood into bed with the same movements each evening during the cold snap, Dood was observantly absorbing your teaching. This is what a loving teacher and education system can bring to it’s young students. Learning with love is limitless.

  2. How gorgeous is it to have people around us to constantly reflect to us whether we are caring for ourselves or not. I love the fact that this reflection can also come from our dogs.

  3. What you share makes so much sense, when I think back to the classes at school where I did not learn I can see it was because there was a harshness to how it was taught, always the classes where I learnt the most the teachers were more loving in their approach.

  4. It can feel really great to notice reflections all around us, even when sometimes it pulls us up as we notice something that we have joined in that is going around in circles that we don’t like. But this reflection from Dood is gorgeous Coleen, showing how loving care for ourselves, and others, is felt by everyone whether they know it or not. Dood is so aware of your loving care, he appreciates it and is clever enough to copy it.

    1. I agree Gill life is full of lessons that can stop us in our tracks and nudge us into a deeper understanding and awareness. This blog is a great reminder as I don’t think we pay nearly enough attention to these precious lessons.

  5. It is inspiring, I say yes, yes, yes….”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?” We are all role models and teacher’s, what do we reflect, lack of care, or true care…my children watch me all the time, and they can see and feel if the words do not match the action. To offer ourselves true self-care what an inspiration to feel it from another.

  6. At times I have had the opposite lesson to what Dood offered, i.e. when I have been disregarding or off-hand in my manner, I have been surprised and aghast to see others follow suit. Either way the lesson is in responsibility and the awareness that our choices have profound knock on effect on the world around us.

  7. EVERYTHING we do, say, think and how we move has an effect and contributes to the world. The question is whether it is a harmful or healing contribution – there is no middle ground. We are all constantly reflecting to each other and to the Universe and to all including Dood the dog. The more we become aware of this the more we have the joy of connecting to and embracing the responsibility of this. We are all so much more deeply connected and interconnected than we generally acknowledge.

  8. What a great article Coleen, so beautiful to see Dood the dog, reflecting back to you the loving care you had given to him.

  9. Go Dood! Just goes to show the loving and ripple effect of true care we all have on others (including dogs) can initiate the same qualities in them.

  10. I have noticed how someone who helps me clean my house has had an influence on the way I fold towels and bed linen. She loves folding things and the care with which she does this is so easy to feel. I take much more care in folding these too now . I love going to the airing cupboard and finding the order and harmony that greets me there.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. ‘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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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 …☺

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

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

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

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