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 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. So beautiful, that your tender loving care was taken in and then Dood was able to then do this same level of tender love and care for himself. We can all learn from this.

  12. What a delightful sharing of you dog Dood. He sounds like he was very inspired by what foundation you’d laid down with him. Absolutely gorgeous that he was able to recreate that for himself, very clever.

  13. It is a point of such inspiration to remember that we learn so much more from what we observe than what we hear, so as teachers, parents, friends, family members we can support each other hugely simply by taking responsibility for our lives, our wellbeing and health and the way we live.

  14. “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.” it is beautiful to return to this delightful blog and its amazing simplicity of sharing the reflection and importance of self care for us all and Dood the dogs reflection of this is inspirational.

  15. Amazing, we all respond and open up much more and are more receptive when we feel safe and cared about- this needs to be taught in all humanities, well all subjects at University and in school from the very beginning. It needs to be our foundation for education.

  16. I walked behind 2 dogs the other day and watched how they were observing everything about the people they were walking beside. They were reading the whole situation just as we do with people and then right on cue, one of the dogs noticed the person wasn’t going to stop them jumping on them, so jump it did. It was priceless watching this unspoken energetic language that was taking place.

  17. Great example of how love works, and what seems like a miracle is in fact what is becoming normal when love becomes a baseline from where one lives. Thank you Coleen and Serge Benhayon, I appreciate how love is in everything that I do to the best of my ability. I now feel how lost I was before the Universal Medicine presentations on at-least being gentle. Before the presentations love was too big a step from the disregard I was in.

  18. When an experience is felt in the body, and one that included loving care and attention, it’s like it is marked in the body. Your body remembers it and remembers it as true. That marker is forever there and cannot be erased. From here, you can mark what is a loving act and can choose to continue to bring this into your life because you know how it felt.

  19. Spending time with my beautiful 2 year old niece yesterday, I marvelled at how much she was picking up. She seems to be learning so much and I can definitely say she is able to do so because of the loving supportive space that her parents allow her.

  20. If Dood can bring this level of tender loving care to himself, then surely we can bring it to ourselves? Perhaps there is scope for service to humanity – offering people the opportunity to experience being tucked in every night. This could change the entire understanding of home-care support. If started as younger people then perhaps we will retain much more vitality and over all well-being to support ourselves in our homes as we age, i.e. replacing nursing treatment care with nurturing care a few decades prior. An ounce of prevention is worth its weight in time and money.

  21. A great reminder to never underestimate the true power that the consistency of our love lived brings to all we meet in the warmth of this glow.

  22. Our education system is sorely lacking in so many ways and you certainly exposed that the concept of loving care is one of essential ingredients that is missing. The system is focused on end results and scholarly achievements but somewhere along the way the human factor has slipped off the radar and it seems that children are now being treated as a commodity and not the beautiful beings that are so willing and open to learn about life and its magnificence.

    1. A reality check on how disconnected we have become and how keenly this is felt in our education system. Children as commodities rather than people to relate to, to learn alongside and to develop life’s greatest skills with: connecting to others and building relationships. Thank you, Ingrid.

  23. I recall when I met Serge Benhayon, I was not that loving or honouring of myself, in fact the only time I paid attention was if I thought something needed fixing. After a long time of witnessing his consistency of love, care and honouring with which he related to me (as well as everyone else) I slowly started to open up and have a go at offering myself that. It was definitely the consistency that diffused the barriers and allowed me to see the love as normal once again. This is so very similar to the Dood story.

  24. How intelligent is a dog to pick up what you offer Coleen. I would call this true intelligence, however it is in contrast to the intelligence we foster here on earth which is not asking for selfcare.

  25. What is so beautiful to note about this glorious sharing Coleen is that we are all equally teachers and students of life and the foundation for which we set ourselves including our rhythms and rituals of self care greatly affect everyone around us too, in remarkable ways. No one is left outside of this beautiful ripple affect not even Dood the dog. Great sharing thank you Coleen.

  26. Wow I just loved re readimg this sharing Coleen it is such an awesome reminder that what is required is a deep level of love and care for ourselves and others as our foundation and from there any thing is possible!

  27. Connection is so important… As parents, teachers, employers, in any role where we deal with other people… If we choose to connect first then beautiful things can happen.

  28. When we have a deep connection with another, whether an animal or a person, it can feel very special. Our learning is to understand that this can be with everyone we meet and interact with. If they don’t return the same connection back, we don’t need to change. They will still receive from us when we hold steady, this is our learning and our development through life. When we get a confirmation like this Colleen, it proves to us that there are no boundaries.

  29. This beautifully demonstrates that when we show love and care for another this can so easily inspire them to bring that much care to themselves in a way they may never have thought possible.

  30. There are plenty of examples in nature of self care. I once watched a documentary where a tiger took 3 days to rest after it got a thorn in its paw, even though it had cubs to look after. For animals, self care is always there, because the ramifications of self abuse often mean life or death. Conversely, modern medicine has in many ways created a false sense of complacency in us as human beings, and an arrogance that we can get away with self abuse because we have the answers to help bring us back when we stray too far away from ourselves.

  31. Dood gave you such a gorgeous reflection and confirmation of care and tenderness and now he is giving it to us through your blog….thank you Colleen.

  32. What you have shared Shirley-Ann is so touching and so true. We assume that there are people and animals that are naturally tough and do not need as much care. But how wrong can we be, because Dood has shown us that when given the chance a dog can choose love, care and tenderness for itself.

  33. I love how even in nature there is a natural form of education and development. It is not just about doing your job in order to live, if there are ways of refining your art to bring out more such as a spider building its web with greater precision or in this case Dood learning to care for himself more and stay warm, they with embrace it.

  34. Imagine other people/strangers seeing a dog wrap itself up in a blanket – surely an opportunity to appreciate the self care of a dog.

  35. This reminds me of something – I have a young baby and the other morning I kissed her forehead – but I was rushing so I kissed her quiet abruptly on the forehead. And then it made me stop and consider – what I show her is what she learns the world to be – so if she receives an abrupt kiss – how does she have a marker of true gentleness and love from me? So I kissed her softly and tenderly and it felt very different in my body and this showed me how we are such strong reflections for everyone around us – and for a baby to know true love and tenderness – this needs to come from the quality and not the action.

  36. Reading your blog upon waking this morning, Coleen, I smile as to it’s significance. After a whirlwind move of house, for the first time in a few weeks I lovingly took my time getting myself ready for bed last night feeling complete with my day. The pure joy I feel in my body since waking after once again being in my evening rhythm is mirrored by Dood the dog – the loving way in which he prepared his bed, snuggled himself in and could then fall fast asleep despite the inclement weather is a reflection to behold. Gorgeous.

  37. Oh i so love your blog Colleen – made me laugh out loud! I can just see the look on your face when you saw Doods remarkable self loving choices! How very gorgeous and inspiring of the power of LOVE Just Yummy 🙂

  38. The other lovely thing about showing tender loving care to others is we then have a marker in our bodies and can choose to do it for ourselves….. as ‘Dood’ did.

  39. I love this story, it is very warming. How can any one or any animal not respond to loving care? It is something we all have a right to.

  40. We don’t often think that our choices and actions are having a big influence but this goes to show how the smallest of gestures can have the biggest impact.

    1. Spot on Vicky, every choice we make impacts on the bigger picture either in a positive or negative way, we are much more powerful than we realise.

  41. Such a pertinent reminder that everything is energy – life has its own pulse and connection with the ALL if we care to listen to it and learn from it what is there for us to learn!

  42. We are so far off where foundational care needs to be. I am so aware that when I went to school and ballet classes I was only ever considered as good as my grades or abilities. The quality I did anything in was rarely noted, and even if it did get noted, it was only to reinforce a quality that didn’t actulaly support me.

  43. We can absolutely learn from every interaction we have. It is so important to be open to what is right there in front of us at any given moment and let that teach us.

  44. I keep coming back to your gorgeous blog Coleen and each time I read it I smile. It was such a gentle, true reminder of the power of loving consistency for ourselves in all we day and also in the way we share with others.

  45. This is the perfect confirmation that we learn so much more inspired by example rather than any number of persuasive words.

  46. Gorgeous, when we see true love, we are inspired to live it to. It is in true living care that we truly learn and see the truth of our connection with everything. As we can know that what we are tuned into.

  47. What a beautiful sharing Colleen on what it is to be true teacher. For although we might like to think that this is about books and classes, what you show is we are teaching everyone everything in the movements and things we choose each and every day. Really the lesson is very simple, and the same one in each day – Love, Love, Love and Love. Thank you and Dood for sharing your wisdom.

  48. We communicate with everything, this is why it is so important to honour and respect all aspects of life including nature and the animal kingdom.

  49. I love the reflections we can get from things and in this case a dog. A friend was chatting to me last night about their dog and as we started chatting they bought what was happening for their dog into how they are with themselves in their relationship. It was so so interesting to see the reflections and how they all linked up. I didn’t do much talking but more listened as they unpacked their understanding about what was going on for the dog and what it meant personally for them. It showed me how much we know if the space is created and we are allowed to tell our story. Sure it didn’t all come out at once and there was some pauses but this is how to unwrap life. Don’t look for an end or perfection just unpack what you see that then allows you to unpack the next part. Awareness is a great great thing and so a dog is never just a thing you have to walk or play with, it’s a reflection of your life, personally so. If you have never looked at it like this then it’s possible you have never given yourself the space to look at it, now you can.

  50. It is easy to assume that our choices and actions do not make much difference in the world. Moments like this show us irrefutably that how we live our life and the loving care with which we relate to everyone and everything around us has a huge impact far greater than we can imagine.

  51. Sometimes we are not aware how much we inspire those around us by living in a selfloving way.
    My inspiration for this life is Serge Benhayon and his family living love in every moment.

  52. It feels like we can all develop a deeper level of loving care wherever we are at at the moment. It is easy to look back and feel how much more loving we are being when we start to do this, but it is quite canny to look forwards and feel how much more loving we can become, once we are understanding this journey of self love.

  53. With the reflection of this blog I have a new appreciation for the role of teachers and for us all as teachers in this world. Our curriculum – care and love.

  54. Learning with love is the only way truly and Dood the dog is a beautiful reflection of this for us all. A great sharing and a lovely story to hold in our hearts thank you.

  55. When a teacher supports us to know and believe in ourselves we know this is a very profound experience as the world opens up. There is a transformation from feeling ‘small’ to an expansion of insight to what is truly possible beyond the limitation that was perceived. And this is from one teacher- perhaps for just one year of school. There are possibilities for amazing expansion if this was to be the experience of many all through school and beyond, appreciating teachers come in many ways through our lives.

    1. I have found the unwavering love and honouring I have experienced from Serge Benhayon, and the consistently with which he has related to me only in terms of my highest qualities has catalysed the most profound change in my life. We can empower one another beyond measure by how we choose to relate to each other.

  56. I find this a very poignant read and one which clearly shows the power of love and tenderness in action and how far reaching that can be. We should never underestimate what our actions can produce, nor should we underestimate animals.

  57. Looking back to my best teachers at school I can remember the main reason I learnt was because they were kind they allowed space for learning. Love will always be our greatest teacher.

  58. Re-reading this there is an interesting reflection offered also in the simplicity of life for Dood the dog. He, having felt the quality of care and love in the action of placing a blanket over him didn’t get caught up in the remnants of his day, meaning he was distracted and not present when he did this for himself but instead was connected to what he had felt and providing this again for himself the next day.

  59. I notice with my dogs how joyful they are in life due to the tender and attentive care they receive from me daily. I feel a big part of that is my ability to understand their needs which builds trust, and my care is in itself a form of communication. Our tender care for others and for ourselves is truly the most vital part of our foundation in life. I know that I too now live a much more joyful life due to my increased self care and attentiveness to my needs. Big thanks to Serge Benhayon who is truly a world leader in self care and it’s vital role in our lives.

  60. I am also struck how our dogs are a great reflection for their owners. If we learn to care for ourselves in that loving way it can not but be shared with others.

  61. Having looked after our friend’s dog over the later part of the weekend I can appreciate even more the effect that our offering of care can have over such loving animals.

  62. Never are we without the power of reflection – be that from nature or each other, an object or action.
    It pays to heed close attention for we are being endlessly supported in ways we may never have considered to bring more of us and to bring Love to every situation before us.

  63. “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.” The teacher student relationship is an important one. Teachers are role models in which many look up to, therefore they hold a huge responsibility as to what they are reflecting in each moment.

  64. I love what you have shared and reflected here Coleen;
    “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?” Fundamental and foundational Coleen as you have so wisely and lovingly pointed out.

  65. Coleen from what you share here and presentations I have seen you give you are a true blessing for children and young people to have a as a teacher. Teachers have a tough job and in my books are amazing with regards to how the majority of them put the children first regardless of all the stats they are given to meet. ‘Being a teacher, I have observed that children learn much more easily when they have a good connection with their teacher.’

  66. I am in awe of Dood! He sounds absolutely gorgeous. I love what you are presenting here Coleen. “Everything is everything and nothing is nothing” as a super-wise man has often shared.

  67. We as adults would have the humbleness and willingness to be inspired in the way that Dood chose, how different would the world than be? There would be no space for competition, jealousy, comparison which means no bullying, no war, no fights etc. Just equality and a natural inner knowing that we all can learn from each other, we’re all innately deeply loving beings and that each and every one of us has their unique expression. It’s beautiful to appreciate and giving permission to oneselves to be inspired and learn from somebody or something else. Thank you Dood!

  68. This is a beautiful sharing, and yes most of us respond to tender loving care, it seems that is something we have lost connection to in the way we treat ourselves, and we compartmentalise this as something we do at home, or with our family. But every child needs tender loving care ALL THE TIME, not just at home, but at school and everywhere as it is the medicine of wellbeing, the gold that supports our children to live their potential.

  69. I love this story. Sometimes others need a helping hand (or reflection) of how to care for themselves – to be reminded that we are precious and worthy of our own love and care.

  70. What a dude Dood is! My dog Roxy has developed a self loving way over the years and is reluctant to leave the house when it is cold and if it is raining well you almost have to drag her out. Maybe she has also learnt this from us.

  71. The body naturally knows what it needs, key is for us to listen to the signal from our bodies – which in this case is exactly what Dood did, his body reminded him that he needed true nurturing and that he, once he had learnt how, could do that for himself.

  72. Wow! Coleen, you have inspired me to look into the possibility of getting a ‘Dood Dog’. Would it be possible if I could get the next generation, that it may have evolved and may even fold my sheets and blankets?

  73. The fact that loving and caring actions are so readily emulated by those receiving them from others shows how natural they are; that they are already known.

  74. “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?” – Shows that the love and care we hold for ourselves and another has an effect! If I tell a child/teenager that they are worth to be cared for – this is great, but not enough. We have to treat them in their preciousness – even they don’t do so with themselves and/or others. Specially when they don’t do so! Someone has to start and bring/offer a change. Great inspiration Coleen & Dood. Thank you.

  75. Wow Love it Coleen, what a fantastic example of true learning and an inspiration for all of us to put that love and care into all we do. I know in the past when I have tried to learn something it has sometimes been impossible if I can feel how impatient and frustrated the teacher is, it is like what ever is being taught I am not able to comprehend if it is not thought with love. Love and care as you have so beautifully shown is a vital ingredient in learning which sadly in education these days is often missing.

  76. This is a beautiful tale which shows how a simple act of tender loving care is deeply appreciated by not only fellow humans but by the animal kingdom as well.

  77. Coleen on reading “I question what we are all missing out on by not having care, love and tenderness as integral to our education system”, I questioned what we are all missing out on, by not having care, love and tenderness as part of our everyday lives. We hurl ourselves through life, a life that lacks tenderness and self love and because most people are living in the same way as us, then we don’t get to see that there is another way. That other way is not a philosophical notion, it is a very practical and tangible living way, known as The Way Of The Livingness and it is presented by Serge Benhayon. It has literally transformed my life.

  78. Dood seem to me to be a very wise being, not merely because he was able to take care of himself but because he recognized and appreciated care and love and responded to it for himself. We as humans would do well do follow Dood’s example and accept and appreciate love when it is offered, and show that love to ourselves when it is missing.

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