Happy Love Day
Recently I had the opportunity to sit with Little Guy during Daniel Tiger's Happy Love Day episode airing on PBSKids -- I miss sharing Mr. Roger's Neighborhood with Little Guy, but that's another post all together! It was fascinating to watch Daniel Tiger and friends say "I love you" over and over - in a 12 minute section "I love you" was spoken or sung more than 30 times. It was also really interesting to observe my Little Guy see and hear his favorite characters learn about finding their own ways to show their love, to connect the words to an action -- art, music, time, hugs. Actions or activities which are very real - concrete - to a two-year old. They are also very real to those of us a bit older.
Hearing "I love you" and seeing the words in action are important for a child's healthy development, but they are also important for continued health as we grow up and older. I speak, text or video-chat with one or both of my Daughters just about everyday. And I make sure to say or type, "I love you" at least once during the conversation. Now, this could be seen as way too much involvement in my adult children's lives. Yes, it could. But rest assured both Daughters have no compunction about letting me know when too much is too much!
Gosh, the Boss tells me he loves me every time we bump into each other in the kitchen - it's a little kitchen -- and I know he is not simply saying the words. The Boss means I am the sun, moon, and stars to him every single time he says "I love you." We'll keep a tiny kitchen!
What do we mean when we say "I love you"?
The Oxford Dictionary definitions of love, as either a noun or a verb, rest on an "intense affection" for someone or something. Sure, we can simply mean "I feel affectionate towards you" when we say "I love you," but we often mean so much more with those three little words:
Regardless of our full meaning or intention behind "I love you," we are creating a change in another person every time we share these words. We are encouraging, building up, strengthening, giving health to a child or an adult. And we often follow up our words with an action, something concrete -- think about it, don't you often give your child a hug or a touch whenever you tell him or her "I love you" and isn't their response a hug, a smile or a bit of a taller walk?
"What the world needs now is love, sweet love
Love the world needs now
Jackie DeShannon first sang What the World Needs Now is Love in 1965 and over the years some pretty amazing artists have reminded us of the lyrics' relevance: Luther Vandross, the Glee Cast, Sara Bareilles to name a few. More recently the 2016 Broadway for Orlando recording thrust the lyrics into the middle of the tragedy resulting from heartbreaking hate. And the song was recorded as recently as this last December by Smokey Robinson, Leona Lewis, Tori Kelly and Sam Fischer to raise funds for the American Red Cross.
Since 1965 more than a hundred artists have covered this song. And for a very good reason -- when we hear this song we know it's a call to express our love through action.
In a world where the pandemic has necessitated physical distancing from one another, in a world where opinions or beliefs can destroy relationships, in a world where financial or social inequity stunts the development of strong, diverse communities, we must heed the call to action in these lyrics AND imitate Daniel Tiger: let's focus on finding creative, concrete ways to show love for others and our communities. Acts of love which encourage them, build them up and strengthen them. This is the love the world needs now.
May our children watch us and learn well how to show their love,