What is Love?

Christians-I-Love-You-300x400Pictured here is my youngest child along with his totally gushy, totally awesome Play-Doh Valentine’s Day message to his Kindergarten teacher. Precious, right? Yeah, I know, and so much so that, since I’m not nearly as creative as a 5-year-old, I’m considering photo-shopping my face on top of his and sending it to my wife for Valentine’s Day… Pathetic? Probably so.

Yet despite that, this precious little sentiment got me wondering about love. “What is love?” That age-old question conjures up two different lines of thought for me. One quite humorous, the other a little more serious.

First, the humorous one. “What is love?” If you’re of my generation (or if you’ve seen the movie “Night at the Roxbury” or even the SNL sketch), then immediately after hearing yourself speak aloud that question you probably can’t help but hum that Haddaway song while doing that Ferrell/Kattan/Carrey-circa 1980s-cheezy cool-sideways-head bobbing thing.

It’s fun to watch. And even more fun to do yourself. You should really try it. It’s quite possibly one of the better cures for those “blahs.” Unfortunately, I don’t remember ever getting a satisfactory answer to my love question.
Ferrell-and-KattanSecond, the serious one. “What is love?” Throughout history philosophers, poets, pundits, and prophets have had ideas. But how exactly do you define it? It seems fairly simple. It’s the reason most couples get together and stay together. But what does love look like?</p>
Let me go back to the kids’ perspective. Someone once did a survey of children, asking them for examples of love, and this is a sample of their responses:

– “Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.” Mark – age 6
– “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy – age 4
– “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5
– “Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy – age 6
– “Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” Terri – age 4
– “Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7
– “Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” Noelle – age 7
– “Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” Elaine – age 5
– “Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.” Chris – age 7
– “When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” Karen – age 7
– “Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” Tommy – age 6
– “Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.” Emily – age 8
– “When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca- age 8

Absolutely. That is love. Precious, right? Yeah, I know none of them offered a creative Play-Doh sculpted “I love You” message for Valentine’s Day (like my kid did), but they’re precious nonetheless.

What is love for you? How do you express your love to those who are special to you? As you can see, love doesn’t always look the same. So be creative. Have fun exploring the many ways you can show love to those in your life, both for Valentine’s Day and every day after.

Happy relating!

jimbaumgardnerjr.png-364x400Jim Baumgardner Jr. (“The Family Pro”) is a Licensed Professional Counselor and lives in Claremore with his wife and four children.

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