The Love Vlog: A Weekly Video Gig by FTF

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Every Monday, 8am @

First Things Foundation YouTube Channel


I've been a teacher my whole adult life. I used to teach in the classroom, now I teach in the field. Of all the teaching moments that stand out, one stands out most. Back in the 90's, after four years teaching in the Bronx, I realized something that would change my life. The teenage kids I worked with day in and day out never talked about love. Well, let me rephrase that. They talked about love all the time, if talking about sex is the same thing as talking about love. It was with one kid, a kid I'll call Ralphie, that I came to realize that the one thing that my students needed to get right was the one thing they got wrong again and again. Not that they did wrong things. I mean, maybe they did, maybe they didn't. You can judge that for yourselves. What they got wrong was this: They thought love was something purely personal. Ralphie thought that what he had for his girl was something only he could understand. The same went for his mother. He thought that the broken love between he and his mom something happening to him alone, something utterly unique, something like his very own fingerprint.

But of course, love is pretty much just the opposite. It is maybe the ONLY thing that we all have in common. In fact, it could be called, and has been called by many cultures from many epochs the source of humanity. The source of life. Love, as Tolstoy famously wrote, is "what all men live by." And of course, he meant all women too. He meant all every-kinda-thing that dies.

Yet, for something so universal, my kids didn't know a damn thing about it.  Wait. I didn't know a damn thing about it. And it struck me back then, in the Bronx, that no one in New York City knew a damn thing about it. And New York is really big. It was the most important conversation being had yet no one was actually having it. And as for us, the teachers, forget about it. None of us risked a teaching moment to delve into love. Sex talk was ubiquitous, love talk was like dirty underwear. What was going on?

Well, I'm not exactly sure what was going on, and what continues to go on, but I couldn't take it anymore. I resolved to teach a class on the history of love. I'd call it The History of Love. But for many years no one was buying my History of Love 101 elective. Until Seacrest, a school down in Florida gave me a shot. And for eight years I taught this class, and for eight years I watched as the suburban kids pretty much thought about love as often and as confusingly as the kids in the Bronx. There was no difference. It was like we adults had hidden love in some plastic egg on Easter, and then jammed it in crawlspace under the furnace. About the only thing more toxic than teaching a course on love was teaching a course about religion. Kids were petrified, teachers bent over in fear.

Until they weren't. Until they realized it was all they wanted to talk about.

And so it is that now, working as a teacher of a different sort, I've come to resurrect the notion of love in a VLOG. I just learned what a VLOG is by the way. I'm hip. Take a look at our new Love Vlog. It is an attempt to talk about the thing that we hope and pray animates FTF field workers, out there alongside the extreme poor. Doing it right is essential. We hope that love is the true metric of success. Furthermore, this VLOG is an attempt to get the conversation moving. We hope you like it. I hope you like it. I'm afraid of the crazy YouTube comments to come, but courage is the currency of the creative. So... let's get rich and converse. Follow us at our YouTube channel here. Please like us if you like it. If you don't, like us anyway. Is that even a thing? Is that allowed?

Peace to you. We don't claim to have perfect answers on our Love Vlog. But we do claim that there is no more essential conversation than this one. It even beats out Trump tweets and CNN watch parties. It does. It must.

Join us on YouTube, every Monday, for a new Love Vlog. And share that sucker. And also support FTF. And also, love those who cross your path. I mean, why not?