01 Feb Love is As Love Does – Feb 12
by Poppy Ivone
My favourite purchase of late is a silver pendant from the Somaly Mam Foundation. It is shaped like an open hand with a heart-shaped palm. It serves as a gentle reminder that my hands must always follow my heart, “merging compassion with action”.
M. Scott Peck, the famous author of ‘The Road Less Travelled’ once said, “The desire to love is not itself love. Love is as love does.”
Children seem to instinctively grasp this concept. If you ask any child about what he/she think about love or loving someone, the answers are most likely action-oriented, i.e. “Help Mommy when she does lots of stuff”, “Sayang Levi”, “Not to eat Tony’s food”. Children perceive love as real, tangible actions. Come to think of it, we all do.
While children may feel love toward others, they aren’t always sure how to express it. As parents, we can effectively teach our children to do this by helping them to find appropriate ways to express their care and concern so they will have a better understanding of what loving others really means.
• Provide Opportunity
Children learn by doing. Teach them to love others by providing opportunities to put love into action. Make a card for a sick friend, bring cookies to an elderly neighbor, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or donate gently used clothing and toys to a local shelter.
Children learn what they live, so be sure to let the children see us loving others. Let them see us being kind to our spouse, hear us calling a friend out of concern and experience us showing compassion to others. Show our children affection and tell them you love them often.
Visit the local library and look for age-appropriate books that talk about love, care and compassion. Read the stories and point out how the characters expressed their love.
Care and compassion are a part of love. Talk about ways you can show care and compassion with your child, i.e. offering a kind word to a sad friend, praying for a friend.
Role-play a situation with our child. For example, pretend that one of her stuffed toys is not
feeling well. Coach her to express her love in different ways. Perhaps she could get her toy a blanket, offer him a drink or give him a hug to show him her love.
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” –1 John 3:18 (ESV)