Love, as a verb, is an action word. Webster says love is to like or desire actively. In this month of love expressed, use the holiday to teach children a bit more about true love. It is natural for young ones to consider love in a selfish manner. Their parents/family have loved them unconditionally, in a giving fashion. They have been the recipients of love. They have certainly had feelings of love towards others, but that does not completely define this complex emotion.
Love is also a noun. Your spouse may be your love but, if you do not love your spouse in the verb or action sense, love will be incomplete and hard to accept. Someone calling you "love" or simply saying, "I love you," communicates love in a verbal auditory way. Yet, if the one who verbalizes love toward you never follows up with love actions, it is difficult to accept their words as truth. If there are not loving acts to reinforce words, then love is questioned at best.
Imagine a parent who never hugged or kissed their children, didn't feed them, never held them when they cried, didn't purchase new clothes when they outgrew theirs, never held hands or put arms around them. How much love would be communicated? I think we would all agree love would be a just a word, but not experienced or believed.
"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
"Love is an action verb," says Jamie Comstock, professor of communication, Butler University, Indianapolis. "To really feel love, the other person has to sense the message in nonverbal ways." Frequent contact is one of the best signs of commitment, according to Comstock. "Your mom will appreciate a large box of candy on Valentine's Day, but if she doesn't hear from you again until Mother's Day, she won't sense love in the gesture," Comstock says.
Let's teach and encourage our children to express love by actions this month. A great way to explain this concept is "giving of yourself." You use your own time, energy and effort to show another person you love and care for them. You don't necessarily spend money. It takes personal effort and part of your day. Maybe it means preparing coffee or another favorite food for someone, or perhaps writing a coupon for a service that you can offer them: making their bed, rubbing their feet/back, cleaning their car of papers/trash or carrying grocery bags.
Watch what happens when children learn to express love by serving/acting on someone else's behalf. Love becomes about others, not themselves. Love leaves the selfish realm of receiving and enters the selfless realm of giving. It's a lesson all of us need to learn — to love in the purest sense.
Printable Love Action Coupons