Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001 16:44:50 -0500 (EST)
Random Thought: On This Valentine's Day

Happy Valentines Day.

Valentine's Day for me is no big deal. My angelic and beloved Susan and I have what I call an "E-marriage." It rests on our "E-love." How's that for up-to-date marital tags. No, we do not have an Electronic-love and marriage. And, I don't mean that for these past thirty-four years we've had an Easy-love and marriage. I mean we have an Everyday-love and marriage, an Effort love and marriage, and an Enduring love and marriage.

What makes a great marriage. True love many will say. What is true love. Darn if I know, but I know it when I see it. I do know that a good marriage is a merger not only of two people, but of love and work. It's not enough to say I love you. You have to work at loving you and being lovable.

Oh, sure we had that one fairy tale incredible moment when we both knew, when I got so knocked off my feet that I still haven't been able to get up. It occurred one late November evening in 1966, only seven weeks after we met on a mutually reluctant blind date, on the campus of Duke University when my "friends" kidnapped her and left fearful me calling out the police to help in my frantic search. But, we had to work for that ONE moment to grow into a few, and then into several, and then into many, and then into always; we had to work for that moment to grow into an hour, into a day, into a week, into a month, into a year, into thirty-four years.

We worked to make sure that each day was a beginning and part of a continuation, that each day we fell in love as if we were long lost lovers, that each day was like a flirting date, that each day was like a slow dance by candlelight, that each day was like an adventure. No great speeches of commitment. No grand gestures of devotion. No proclamations of devotion. Just little and mostly unspoken little things a smile here, a glassy gaze there, a slight caress everywhere. The small everyday romantic whispers, small everyday enchanting touches, everyday playful acts, everyday tender surprises, everyday quiet cuddles, everyday nibbles and pecks, everyday tease, everyday giddy and zany gestures are great events for heightening and perpetuating the passion, adoration, spontaneity, romance, excitement, respect, and trust--and have gotten us through the wet sand of challenges and crises, the betters and worses, sicknesses and healths, the sorrows and joys. We listen more than we talk; we talk more with our eyes than with our mouths. All of this has allowed us to venture together, explore together, discover together, grow together, change together.

We don't have a 50-50 marriage; we don't fit lock and key. We are opposites that attracted. The asymetry, however, does keep things interesting. No boredom or dullsville. Lots of bantering. No taking-for-granted. Lots of connection and involvement. No routine. And, believe me, we're not perfect. It's too much to ask of each other to be the perfect mate. I won't speak for me, but I can tell you that Susan is okay. She pretty good. She darn good. She's a keeper.

What does this have to do with teaching? Everything. After all teaching is a love affair; it is involvement and connection with people. And, you have to work daily and constantly and hard if you want good teaching no less and in the same manner as seeking a good marriage.

I think everyone has compassion, faith, courage, strength, hope, patience, sympathy, empathy, caring, compassion, love, belief. It's the successful teachers, like the successful lovers, who learn to use them.

The real, enduring, and lasting "E" in e-education, like a firm e-marriage, is not the technology of electronic education as so many are touting. It sure shouldn't isn't easy or effortless education. It's the successful teachers who, like the successful lovers, practice the real "e" of their craft: effort-education, exciting-education, exploring-education, enthusiastic-education, everyone-education, energetic-education, encouraging-education, empathetic-education, and emotional-education. And, above all, everyone-education. When they do, e-education, like an e-love and an e-marriage, means lasts and endures, lasts and endures, lasts and endures.

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
                                 /     \__/         \/  /  /\ /~\/         \
                          /\/\-/ /^\_____\____________/__/_______/^\
                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

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