Love Stories from our Gentle-Hearted Readers

Love Stories from our Gentle-Hearted Readers

By: Think Tank Readers

Love as a Factor of Learning

Curtis Kelly – One who knows how heart break can lead to bad decisions

I had this excellent student in my Japanese university class, who had studied abroad and was a year older than her peers. She truly bolstered the class. Then, one day, I noticed she went from being a great student with a wonderful attitude to a mediocre and rather negative one. Her interest in English seemed to have faded away. I pulled her aside after class and asked if everything was okay. Then, I found out why.

This American boy she developed a serious relationship with while studying abroad was not responding to her emails. She had bought tickets to go see him in California, as they had planned together, but here just two weeks before her flight he had stopped responding. Would he pick her up at the airport? Did he really want her to come? She had no understanding of what was going on and felt so vulnerable. Was he not getting the messages or trying to put her off? Should she go or not? Of course, I don’t know the whole story, I felt his not answering was the cruelest and using a phrase from my times, least manly thing he could have done.

Writers Write Others’ Well Becoming

Tim Murphey – Think Tank Muse and horse whisperer

Tim Murphey’s response to a writer who was struggling (as we all do) and asked for some advice:

Good writers write foremost for the well-becoming of others. Of course, good writers might mention bad things for others to prepare for and tell sad stories to seek the good in people, but readers can feel when writers have their well-becoming in mind, to overcome and deal with the bad, sad, and negative. Good writers are sometimes journalists, teachers, students, novelists, historians, politicians, nurses, mothers, fathers, children, warriors, and even textbook authors, etc. Good writers take care of their readers although they may never know them. They realize when things are confusing and unnatural, and they simplify, honor, clarify, respect, and surprise readers by showing them their own amazing magical selves. You can do this, too. You just need to find ways to fall in love with your readers first, so you will care for them so much that you will discover the writer and the righter in you. (Dec. 19 2023)

Graduation Gift

Marc Helgesen – One who loves teaching

A graduation day gift from students. I hope it matches both their emotion about the class and my emotions while teaching.

And here is an activity to spread the love in your own classes:

The love guru

James Broxholme – Kagawa, Japan

Back in the day, in the mid 90s, before the internet was mainstream. I came across a CD-ROM of a program that claimed to predict the relationship success rate of partners. I think it was a sample from a computer magazine I used to occasionally buy. I decided to use this to predict the relationship success rating of some friends in my class as a bit of fun. I think the success was predicted on really “robust scientific data” such as the surname combination and date of birth of the potential partners, without any other variables whatsoever.

Looking back, despite the reports being clearly pre-loaded, generated text in a horoscope type format, they soon became fairly popular with my teenage classmates, who began requesting various combinations of partners. Eventually, this newly found demand turned into some money being exchanged for these reports and I took my first steps into the love horoscope business.

Everything was going swimmingly until the partner combinations got more and more experimental, and current and ex-partners were mixed into the pot. This obviously caused some controversy and caused a number of conflicts within the teenage romance world based on my extremely unscientific data. The future romance of my cohorts became chaotic and I had to eventually retire from my newly found status of love guru and become a soccer player (I mean teacher).

The message I learned was never interfere with emotions of teenagers in love!

My Psychology of Love Course

Curtis Kelly – One who learned about love in Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled

The best course I ever taught came on a lark. I was tasked with coming up with a content-based course to teach English at my Japanese university. I first made a course on the desktop publishing, but it did not seem to excite students much. The next year, I chose a topic I knew was way outside the box, but one I thought would be interesting: The Psychology of Love. It turned out to be a super success. We studied Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled ideas on genuine love, looked at research on successful marriages, and practiced techniques to resolve fights. My students ate it up. I think this topic filled a huge need in their lives that is otherwise ignored by education. In fact, the members of the class started meeting on their own to carry on discussions, they made a class T-shirt and Facebook page, and they kept getting together many years after graduating. In particular, they went to each other’s weddings. I hope some of what we did helped them in their relationships.

One of my favorite lessons in this course was having students write a love letter to someone after reading this newspaper article. Only rarely were the letters to a romantic partner, usually to a family member or friend, but still moving. After writing, the students had the option to share their letters, which led to a lot of tears.

Love Pours Forth From Letters to Kimimachi-zaka

By Koji Nakada, The Daily Yomiuri 2/28/95 (edited)

The mayor of the town Futatsuimachi invited people from all over the country to take part in a “love letter” contest. Contestants were asked to compete in writing “the most affectionate love letter in Japan” and the town received 7,035 letters.

They were screened and the top prize went to an 80-year-old woman. Her letter was not like one written by a young person, full of sweet and flaming thoughts. Take Yanagihara of addressed it to her husband who died in battle in China in 1939. In those days she could not write freely in letters to her husband because of military censorship.

To You in Heaven

By Take Yanagihara

It has been more than half a century since I saw you off with our daughter on my back and waving a small paper Rising Sun flag. You held me in your strong arms for only a fleeting moment.

I would like to board a spaceship and be at your side. You are still young at 32 but I am approaching 80. When we meet, do not ask ‘Who are you?’ Say instead, ‘I’ve missed you.’ Let me cuddle up to you like I did in those days long ago.

Since we said farewell, I have thought of you and lived relying on your love. I wish I could sleep again in your arms. Please hold me tight and never let me go.

The Veins

Pinar Sekmen – ESOL Teacher/Teacher Educator @professionalsupport_ps

 It was my first international teaching environment as a very young EFL teacher 23 years ago. As it was an embassy school, my students were mostly coming from prestigious families and they were “teenagers in their veins.” Hats off to my younger version back then, when I now think about those challenging times, for bringing balance to those “veins” in my classroom. One day, after school, I took public transport to the city center together with some of my young gentlemen. The Yemeni one asked for my suggestion for a small gift that he was going to buy for his girlfriend. I approached the task in a friendly way, as I always did. In the shop, he chose the bracelet that I liked and he stuck a romantic note on the gift box. I showed my admiration and he told me about how much he loved her. Then, he gave that box to me and said: “Please, accept this. This is for you.”

It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine my shock. Managing that moment was seriously harder than managing my classrooms then because I knew I had to be really careful with my words for his sensitive feelings. Fortunately, I managed that as well. We stayed in touch for long years in different countries and he never missed a teachers’ day.  Editors’ note: We found Pinar on YouTube.

Desert Serendipity

Lorna Beduya Dhofar gypsy

Back in 2013, an unexpected love blossomed within me, triggered by a chance encounter. The setting sun cast a mesmerizing glow over the desert in Salalah (in Oman), capturing my heart in an instant. As I strolled through the arid landscape, you emerged from the college grounds, hastily navigating the terrain on your weathered bicycle. Although I hadn’t paid much attention, you stole a swift glance in my direction.

In that moment, my world shifted, and my heart raced, flushing my cheeks with a fiery hue. Time seemed to halt as you came to a stop, fixing your gaze upon me with a captivating smile. Silently, you extended a piece of paper toward me. Uncertain of its contents, I hesitated to unfold it, half expecting a mundane receipt from a nearby laundry shop. To my surprise, it was so much more. A treasure. That day, I reluctantly bid farewell to the man who might have held the key to my heart.

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