Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Make you feel my love. . .

I wrote a song a very long time ago that had the same chord progressions featured in the verses of this song.  Written by Bob Dylan, this song has been covered by the likes of Bryan Ferry with his Dylanesque album, including various American Idol and Britain's Got Talent contestants, Ed Sheeran and Adele.  The cover of Make you feel my love by Adele speaks to me about how I can help others in my life.  How I can be the shoulder to cry on as I might be the only person in someone's life who they've come to rely on to be "their person".  Sometimes you don't know how much you mean to someone until something happens and they reveal it.

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

It is easy to think about the obvious romantic overtones of the song.  As a former teacher I think about the "duty of care", the position of "loco parentis" that I was placed in.  I think about the former students who came from broken homes and who didn't have positive role models for parents and how much they craved human kindness in their lives, especially if they were not getting the care from the adults who were meant to provide this in their young lives.  I quickly discovered that I would need to provide appropriate levels of support, to empower students from all ethnic backgrounds, from all walks of life - to make them feel if not my love, then at least that someone cared.

When the evening shadows and the starts appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I also discovered that as soon as I had built relationships of trust with my students, that they would reveal their personal backgrounds that impeded their progress in school.  I often thought about how they were coping in other classes, especially when they would disclose information about not liking particular subjects or if they were in trouble with other subject teachers.  I felt that I had to act as an intermediary if not an advocate for such students - and not help them in a way where they would become dependent - but at least teach them "life skills" to cope with issues, just like I had been taught "life lessons" from influential teachers when I was growing up in high school.

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I will never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met (harmony hits)
No doubt in my mind where you belong

Before I could establish those relationships of trust - I had to first of all gain their trust.
To do this, I had to reveal my own humanity to my students.
I'm not talking about sharing personal issues that are inappropriate - but being able to make connections and parallels with their own struggles growing up, giving examples of what life was like for me at their age - and if I didn't have reliable adults who I could confide in - at least teach them about what types of qualities to value in a person and to use the school's existing systems of pastoral care.  The problem persisted that students would still tell me their problems and issues because they trusted me and I made them feel safe and comfortable in class.  I became like an "aunt" or "mother" figure to these students.

I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawling down the avenue
No there's nothing that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love

Loma would often remind me - remember babe, you can't save the world, there's only so much you can do.  He supported my work with students and knew that I would do anything for my students to make them feel happy, healthy and safe at school, so that they could learn how to transition this into their everyday reality.  It was a huge mission, a massive undertaking, fraught with drama, sometimes unnecessary drama - but at the end of the day, I believe that I taught those students to be resilient, to rely on building yourself up with confidence and self-esteem because the world will try their damnedest to knock you down - it's life.

The string ensemble interlude plays for 16 bars before we reach the final stages of the song.
The strings symbolise for me how the music pulls at my heart strings.

The storm's are raging on the rolling seas
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain't seen nothing like me yet

To encourage students to believe that they can say to the world you ain't seen nothing like me yet  - to me is a very powerful statement.  In my own life, there have been times where I have afraid to be a pioneer to do things first, to put myself out there because I didn't know anybody else that was doing what I was doing.  I soon realised - that just because nobody had done it - it didn't mean that I should be afraid to do it first.

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love

To make you feel my love

Moral of the story: whether you choose to be that rock, shoulder to cry on, hand to hold, hug to embrace, you need to give love to those who deserve it, those who need it, and those who most likely cannot survive without it.  The more love you give, the more you get back.  So I will love freely because I know the winds of change are blowing wild and free, you ain't seen nothing like me yet. . .