How to Love

Editorial by Charlotte Suttee

Modern Valentine’s Day is marketed for romance, but I believe there’s much more to love than your cute boyfriend (real or imaginary) this unofficial-holiday season. Here’s a brief list of ways we can love 5 things: planet, country, school, others, and, of course, yourself.

Love the Planet: “Only buy food that you can eat.”

Photo by Pixabay on

For those of you who know me, you know that I’m pretty excited about planet Earth. The environment is facing a lot of discrimination recently, but there are small things you and I can do to love our planet every day.

AP Environmental science teacher Brian Yockers says that food waste is one of the most “immediate” and “tangible” environmental issues of today, and my eagle eyes can’t help but spot all the fine food that goes into Jenks’ trash cans everyday: unopened carrot bags, unbitten apples, fresh milk– the list goes on!

The food process uses up more energy and resources than we can imagine, considering agriculture, transportation, food processing, food handling, fertilizers, inspections– this list is endless too!

So we shouldn’t take that extra apple or carton of carrots if we’re not going to eat it; save ourselves some money while saving some of the planet.

Love the United States of America: “Practice Your Right to Vote… and Advocate!”

Practicing our rights is one of the most important ways to love our country.

“Something we can recognize today, as people, is that we make the government,” stresses government teacher Corey Hubble.

The government is not some “shadowy, far-off” thing, but it is made up of the officials we elect. When our leaders butt heads and do things we don’t like, we the people, should truly be held responsible. So if you are of age, go vote for our mayors and governors (we should make those informed decisions, while we’re at it).

Pre-AP English teacher Sydnie Ritze sits up in her desk chair and thinks what needs more attention in American society. After a few moments, she answers confidently.

“We need to give more love to special education access across the state,” Ritze says. She admits the quality of special education really comes down to resources and staff availability because “qualified” is “the key word” when it comes to teachers, she says.

Ritze and I agree that one thing that we can do, teachers especially, is to advocate for positions that are needed in society, such as special education teachers. Promoting and learning about these careers now is critical for the success of our educational future.

Love Jenks High School: “Respect this school because we are lucky to be here.”

Wear your IDs (words from the hypocrite who got caught without one today), thank your teachers, and work hard. Why? We are receiving a free education from, arguably, Oklahoma’s finest public school. Staff work hard to maintain a safe, healthy, and clean learning environment so we can enjoy the privilege of learning and growing. Plus, being a teacher is an underappreciated, sometimes underpaid job. We’re lucky to have them.

Love Jenks High School (again): “Loving our school means keeping it clean.”

Further on the topic of waste: we love our janitors and they do their job well, but we also have a responsibility, as not all of our litter makes it into the trash bag at the end of the day. Throwing away our own stuff is easy, impactful, and builds healthy habits for life that we may not even realize now.

Okay, Charlotte, enough with the tree-hugger talk.

Love Others: Listen

Listening: The first ingredient to healthy conversation.

Jenks all-star teacher, Michael Horn tells us where society needs more love: “We don’t listen to understand, we listen to respond.”

Teachers know that when a student has their hand raised, it’s the comment or question that’s bouncing around in their head, not what they’re trying to teach. I think we do the same outside of the classroom, internally: wrestling down a rebuttal while the other person is talking.

We should show a little love and respect and listen to what people say to us. This practice of active listening is always needed in politics, our schools, our families, and our friends.

Love Others: “Lend a helping hand.”

The joy of serving others ultimately outweighs the joy of being served. This is not a call to commit to a weekly volunteer food drive (though, that would be pretty heckin awesome) but to help with something as simple as holding the door open for the lunch crowd.

To learn more about the positive psychological effects of being helpful, check out this article:

Utah tells Lily Heritage that he loves her.

Love You: Be You.

Each of us could use a little more self-love. My advice to being the happiest and healthiest you is to be you. Be authentic. Be passionate. Be fearlessly you. In case this advice does not resonate with you, check out what I asked Jenks’ students: “What does it mean to love yourself?”

“You just wrap yourself in a big fuzzy blanket,” Abhinita Premkumar (12) says with a cozy smile.

“Doing things that I want to do, doing things to make me happy, paying attention to what I like instead of what anyone else likes.”

Destiny Servinus (10) takes a break from editing in her film class to speak seriously about self-love.

“I’m pretty awesome, so I just start from there.”

Anderson Acebo(10)

Sometimes to be self-confident, you just gotta be self-confident.

“I think it’s just believing in yourself. In highschool you feel a lot of pressure to be one thing or to not act any way that you feel is best in your heart,” says the one and only Greg Tiller (11).

If you don’t have a Greg in your life, get one. He is a fountain of infinite wisdom and love.

“I think self love– how you achieve it– is recognizing your humanity, your abilities and flaws…” Jadon Song (12) says sincerely amid the hubbub of a noisy cafeteria. “I am a believer that if you want to love others at the fullest capacity you need to learn to love yourself at that capacity, too.”

Love is also a verb.

So celebrate a day that celebrates love. Take action by making sure your trash gets to the trash can (or better, recycling), get informed about current events, and maybe cuddle up in a warm blanket: all lovely things.

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