I could not have anticipated the reaction of friends to my last article (June 17) which spoke of love and loss, and my still strong belief in finding The One. Those reactions led me to more contemplation on love, and its real meaning.
For human beings, I’ve found that love, companionship and a feeling of belonging are as basic a need as eating. And when we’re hungry, we eat. How do we recognize that our bodies require nourishment of that nature? Well, for some it’s when our stomach rumbles. For others it’s based on the time on the clock. More particularly, the time we last had our fill.
Having love, companionship, or a sense of belonging to someone or a group is something we learn from the time of understanding. Kids portray this in the most innocent and truest form from a tender age. Consider preschoolers, or children in daycare for example; regardless of skin colour, hair texture or accent, their main concern is having someone who enjoys playing with them, someone who treats them right and is kind.
A few months back I shadowed at an Infant school in the toddler room. Due to the nature of the school, the classroom consisted of children from different countries which meant in that one class there were students who spoke different languages and were from varied backgrounds and cultures, with skin colours ranging from smooth caramel to dark chocolate. However, none of those differences seemed to matter.
I was amazed at how one little girl in particular, who did not speak English, was almost at all times the ringleader of the games the children played. I learnt from that experience about how pure and innocent a child’s love can truly be.
Children are resilient,and forgive quickly, which is one characteristic we seem to lose as we get older and life starts to get real. We see such examples every day in the behaviour of orphans, street children and those perceived by society to be delinquents. They are often scarred, with trust issues developed as a result of their own life experiences. Those fortunate enough to find happy endings are only able to do so after finding themselves in a place where they can be nurtured, moulded and shaped into the respectable and productive members of society they were always meant to be. They are able to make such a transition primarily because someone who was once a stranger decided to commit to them, and show them love.
Famous individuals like Steve Jobs and Marilyn Monroe both had childhoods without parents being actively involved. Steve Jobs was put up for adoption at a young age and Marilyn Monroe was thrust into the foster care system as a result of having a mentally ill mother and an absentee father. Nonetheless, these two individuals showed tremendous courage and rose above their circumstances, and today their triumphs serve as inspiration for many.
What I can say at this point is I’ve learnt through my experiences and those of others that love at its most genuine is so much more than just the physical which we, as adults, focus on; instead, it’s something that stems from deep within.