Loving like a child
February is one of my favourite months of the year. February is the month that we slowly start recovering after the spending and eating frenzy that was December. February is the month in which my eldest was born and incidentally it is also my own birthday month. February is unique with the whole 28/29 day conundrum and most importantly of all; February is the month of love.
Children generally understand love so much better than grown-ups. The little prince rightly said that “Grown ups never understand anything by themselves. And it is rather tedious to have to explain things to them time and again”.
So here, courtesy of children everywhere, are 5 ways in which we can love more like them:
- Children forgive quickly
My 5-year old often comes home in the afternoon announcing boldly that she will never-ever in a lifetime speak to Marisa or Amy or Jacqueline ever again. The demise of said friendship would be attributed to anything from the non-sharing of a particularly delicious sandwich to the non-willingness of someone to be the prince so all the others can be princesses. I normally just nod and smile because I know for a fact tomorrow she will come running to the car after school begging for Marisa or Amy or Jacqueline (or all of the above) to come over or sleep-over or just move into our house forever. This is in stark contrast to some grown-ups who have a fight or a disagreement and proceed to sulk for days or weeks or years. Why do we waste so much time being mad at the ones we love? This is precious time wasted that could have been much better spent sharing a bottle of wine.
- Children don’t hesitate to say “I love you”
At what point do we as grown-ups become so guarded? So careful to make ourselves vulnerable? So hesitant to tell those we love that we are crazy about them? We often see this in romantic movies where it is basically one long power struggle to see who can postpone their admittance of love the longest. Love them? Tell them! Every day.
- Children give gifts in abundance
…even if it’s a rock. Even if it’s a squishy flower (because she picked it at school this morning and kept it in her pocket all day) There is no competition to see who can get the most expensive gift. In fact, children understand that it is not about the gift at all. It’s about seeing something beautiful and thinking about someone you love at that moment. It’s about putting some thought into it. It’s about giving someone a piece of yourself.
- Children love lavishly
Oh, how dignified we grown-ups are. So well behaved. So reserved. Perish the thought that we would show any public displays of affection. Generally this weird behaviour only kicks in sometime after puberty. Kids have no problem hugging you and kissing you and excitedly jumping into your arms whenever you were separated for more than 3 and a half minutes. Fast forward a few years and most teenagers also have no problem showing the world how much they love and desire one another. But wherever you see a young couple in love sharing kisses in public, you will inevitably spot a sour-faced grown-up lurking somewhere in the background giving them dirty looks. Why? Are we jealous? Seriously, as long as they are not being straight out indecent, let them be. Love lavishly! Abundantly. Profusely.
- Children love unconditionally
Children will love you even if you work late too often. Even if you have a bad day and snap at them for no reason. Even if you once told them the ice-cream truck only plays its jingle when all the ice-cream is finished. When we get married, we vow to love for richer or poorer. Better or worse. But it doesn’t really work like that anymore. Instead we attach all sorts of conditions to our love. “As long as you change with me” or “as long as you always stay the same” I am not perfect. I am not a perfect wife or a perfect friend or a perfect parent. But those who love me, love me unconditionally and in spite of my BS. They continue to love me even if I sometimes let them down. And the least I can do is to return the favour. Let’s just stop being so hard on each other? Just love. That’s all.
When we think about Valentine’s Day, we immediately think about roses and champagne, fancy restaurants and romance. But this year, if you don’t have a date I don’t want you to despair. Because the month of love is about so much more than just romantic love. It is also about the love we have for family and friends. It’s about parents and children, brothers and sisters. It’s about colleagues that make our time at work bearable and friends who helps us deal with life’s daily challenges. This year, let’s think less about the way we love as grown-ups and love like children again. After all, “All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.”
** Quotes by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
This article was first published on Master of Quills
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