The most important thing you’ll ever learn…

Originally published June 2008 in the Dickinson County News

Repeat after me:

“I can really love me… and that’s the most important thing… that I’ll ever learn… in my whole life.”

Those are some of the words being repeated at school districts throughout Dickinson County this week as they turn to drug-free curriculum this week in honor of Red Ribbon Week.

Students in Okoboji and Harris-Lake Park recently participated in a program titled “Rockin’ Prevention,” which included a drug-free message, interaction with high school role models and a lesson in loving themselves and one another.

“I can really love me… and that’s the most important thing… that I’ll ever learn… in my whole life.”

Does that have anything to do with living drug-free? Yes – it has everything to do with it.

Students were taught that loving themselves means taking care of themselves. And taking care of themselves means keeping drugs and alcohol out of their bodies.

They learn that loving themselves means they are enabling themselves to love others. For elementary students where love isn’t as easily confused with romance, they can learn the importance of the love which means deeply caring for another human being.

And is it really the most important thing to learn in your life? I think so. What in the world could be more important than love?

Kids know love is important. They feel loved from their parents, their teachers, their friends. They know it feels good to love and to be loved.

The sad thing is that often adults have forgotten the importance of this kind of caring love. Many have been hurt too much to believe in it anymore. Some have just learned that things can be easier if they don’t get attached. Others may have never learned to love as a child.

A more adult version of the “Rockin Prevention” message can be found in the movie “Moulin Rouge.” Sure, it’s a bit racier – and much deeper – than a PG elementary school program, but the theme is similar:

“The most important thing you’ll ever learn, is to love and to be loved in return.”

Money doesn’t matter. Technology is a meaningless luxury. Grades are simply measurements of academic achievement. Drugs and alcohol are escapes from a world that IS worth living in, and addictions are a terrible result of people trying to mask and manipulate pain. So few things in this world are important…

But love – love is important. Love is everything. And that, I believe, is the most important thing I’ve ever learned.

If you can agree, repeat after me:

“I can really love me… and that’s the most important thing… that I’ll ever learn… in my whole life.”