Have you ever asked your child (or a friend’s child) how he or she defines the word “Love?” I recently asked my two sons what they thought love meant, and what they wrote did not surprise me, because it came straight from their hearts, free of preconceived notions or societal definitions. They used words like “kindness,” “caring,” “helping,” and “forever” to define what love meant to them. It was very simplistic and to the point. There were sentences and lists to further explain what they meant by their definitions, yet nowhere on their notepads were there asterisks highlighting that what they were saying DIDN’T apply to EVERYONE…there were no footnotes that called out who their love did not apply to. Their love was encompassing of all things and people, not just reserved for a select few.
I point this out because we should only be so lucky to love one another as though we were still children. I say this because the word LOVE has become tainted as we have aged. As adults we often say we LOVE one another, or ourselves, yet we do not do so unconditionally, we do it CONDITIONALLY. We hold grudges, we refuse to forgive, we play coy with one another; therefore, not truly loving each other or ourselves. This false emotion plays out daily in our interactions with one another and in the way we talk to ourselves. Yet we often question why the world is filled with so much hatred, injustice, racism, you name it. It is because we have forgotten how to love like a child – simply, blindly, wholeheartedly.
Could you imagine what our world would be like today if we loved one another like a child loved his or her pet or friends or parents? Our hearts would be filled to the brim and our emotions would equally match that overflowing joy. We would be less likely to hold onto our anger, our prejudices, or our sadness. Our eyes would be filled with joy, our voices filled with song, our minds filled with positive thoughts. We would walk with a skip in our step, talk with a song on our lips, love with a dance in our heart.
Perhaps we would even learn to look past our differences and instead of holding them against one another we would use them to learn from one another. Perhaps we would not see the color of one’s skin as a barrier but rather as simply a different shade than that of our own, for we would remember that we all bleed the same. Perhaps we would not see differences in our religions or our cultures or our languages and instead see them as stepping stones to becoming more godly, more worldly, more scholarly.
To love like a child means to forgo our biases. To love like a child means to forgive those who have hurt us. To love like a child means to see one another as equals. To love like a child means to simply LOVE.
Are you loving like a child?