Layers of Love: Why Students Feel Lonely Sometimes

Note: I want to thank author, choral conductor, educator, performing artist, and public speaker, Sam Sierra-Feldman for a great deal of the content in today’s blog. She is an inspirational human being and I highly recommend her as a public speaker for any event.

There are many adults who are in loving relationships with their partner/spouse, and yet feel lonely during relatively large portions of their day. This can be confusing. I know this because I have experienced it at times. What it comes down to is that human beings need to experience multiple kinds of love in order to feel completely whole. Understand that I’m not talking about feeling pretty good, or somewhat satisfied. The goal here is how can we thrive, and more to the point…

How can we help our students thrive?

There are things which precede academic learning and one of those things is feeling cared for, safe… feeling loved. This is different than “knowing” someone loves you. Knowing someone loves you is different than feeling loved. Additionally, with the first paragraph in mind, it is key that we recognize the importance of the following statement.

To be able to strive for our full potential while encountering adversity, it is critical that we have different kinds of love in our life.

If we want to get down to the foundational aspects of how to help our students thrive, we need to think about ways to satisfy their human need to feel loved in different ways. I’m referring to more than the five love languages (Dr. Gary Chapman). I’m suggesting we think about the following kinds of sources of love.

  • Feeling cared for by friends

  • Support from adults other than one’s parents

  • Experiencing kindness on a regular basis

  • Feeling cared for by being fed a meal that was prepared with care

  • Friendship with a pet

  • Meaningful relationships that are built over time

  • Being able to talk to someone who shows their love by being willing to listen


Think about your classroom, school and home environment. Is there anything you can do, and that you and your colleagues can do, to build an environment where the students end up choosing to build this sort of community. Do we take the time to define community in different ways, such as:

  • Building community with ourselves

  • Building community with another person

  • Building community with a small group of people

If we don’t start with those kinds of definitions of community, is building a sense of community with larger groups possible in an authentic manner?


I’ll close today’s blog with a challenge for us all.

How can we help our next generation become more aware of the many kinds of love which exist.

There are so many approaches I’ve seen used and which I’ve used myself. Keep in mind, it’s not so much the finding of a perfect strategy, as it is…

Integrating the concept of love into anything we do

As I have said before…

It’s not the thing, it’s how we do the thing.