Let me get this out-of-the-way, I realize the word “LOVE” can be a noun and a verb. However, I am here to tell you that it is my position and it should be your position that when it comes to your children, love should always be a verb. In actuality, love should always be an action word when it involves most animate objects but that is a discussion for another time.
Why is love a verb because a verb is an action word. A verb is about doing, performing and engaging. A noun is a person, place or thing. When you love someone, in particular your child, your child is the person, the noun. Your actions towards your child will define how well you understand the meaning and intent of love. Your actions will express whether you grasp that love should always be about doing. Your actions will convey your appreciation for the fact that when we love we must always be actively engaged.
Regrettably, too many parents fail to understand that love is a verb. We forget on a daily basis to hug our children. We don’t take the time to tell our children that we love them each day. We are too busy working to spend time with them on a consistent basis. We are too busy pursuing our pretentious and capitalistic obsessions to express passion toward our children. In sum, we are just too busy being so very busy to be intimately involved in our children’s lives.
Intimacy Is Required
Speaking of intimate, I might as well remind you of the obvious. Intimate is a verb and the actions associated with this word are what caused our children to be born in the first place. No matter how you spin it, no matter how much you protest, plain and simple, the intimate apparel (a noun) you wore did not cause the production of your child.
How ironic is it that an action word gets us parents all hot and bothered (two more action words) setting the stage for reproduction to occur (one more action word). Even with the existence of all these verbs – action words – as parents, we somehow fail to understand that if action was required to create a child action is required to raise a child. FYI: Love of a child requires us to remain active much longer than the few minutes of intimacy that it took to produce our children.
Let’s examine the word intimate for a moment. The origin of the word “intimate” is derived from the Latin word “intimare” which means “to put in”. Now if this were not a G-Rated blog there is so much more that I could say about that definition – “to put in”. But I won’t. I trust you get the point. I believe you are perfectly aware that putting in is exactly the action that caused you to reproduce in the first place.
At any rate, back to the subject at hand. The word “intimare” is also Latin in origin and is from the word “intimus” which means “innermost”. Need I say anything more? I didn’t think so.
Both Latin derivations of the word intimate, make my point crystal clear. There was something “put in” to create your child, there must be something “put in” to raise your child.
Time “To Put In”
What must you “put in”? Simple, you must “put in” love.
The love required to be “put in” reminds me of a childhood experience when I played outside with one particular toy. Now I realize this analogy may be foreign to those of you who were born to a generation where all the games and toys could be played on a gaming console, a computer, a tablet or smartphone. However, as shocking as this might sound there was a time – a time long, long ago of course – when children actually went outside to play on their own. Way back when, children played outside jubilantly until we were ordered to come in the house. We played until the streetlights were insufficient to continue playing and we did so without being solicited by a coach, sponsored by a league or prodded by a parent.
When I was a very young boy, my toy of choice was a boomerang. The origin of the boomerang is that it was once used by the Australian Aborigines for hunting and war. Unlike the Australian Aborigines, I didn’t enjoy the boomerang because it aided me in defeating my enemies or subduing my next meal. I didn’t have many enemies at the time and if you remember I was positioning myself to be a restaurateur so eating was never a problem.
One of the reasons I enjoyed the boomerang so much was that I didn’t need anyone else to play with me. Truth be told, I didn’t even want anyone else near me when I played with my boomerang. Some called my behavior egotistical, I called it individual freedom. The boomerang belonged to me. I wasn’t much for sharing and I can’t overstate how much I despised having to wait my turn to throw my own boomerang a subsequent time.
Love is Like a Boomerang
Older and wiser, I realize that my boomerang was more than just a simple toy that exploited my childhood selfish tendencies. Now, I recognize that my boomerang was symbolic for how and why parents should love their children.
The boomerang is an individual device. Your child is an individual person. You can share the boomerang but when you do it doesn’t return to you it returns to the alternate thrower. You can try to share – outsource – raising your child but when you do your child might not return to you at all or if your child does return, you might not like what comes back. If you don’t pick up the boomerang and expend some energy the boomerang won’t work. If you don’t get actively involved in your child’s life and expend some energy, you will not have a relationship with your child that works.
You can allow someone else to throw your boomerang but ask yourself as I did: what if their aim is bad, what if they throw it too hard or what if they lose, break or steal your boomerang? Loving your child is similar, you can try outsourcing your parental responsibility – like so many parents do – but don’t be surprised if one day you find out that the person or people you outsourced your child to do not have the same parental intentions as you. Don’t be shocked that those who you outsourced the care of your child to don’t care for your child as lovingly as you would have liked. Don’t be upset if your child’s experience with an actively engaged outsourcer is so superior to your passive engagement that your child simply no longer wants to be bothered with you.
What Goes Around Comes Around
As a child I realized that the care and maintenance of my boomerang was solely my responsibility. Thus, only one person was going to be allowed to throw my boomerang and it was me. I wasn’t going to chance allowing someone else to chart the course of my boomerang. I wasn’t going to allow someone to be able to throw my boomerang better than me. I wasn’t going to give someone else an opportunity to handle my boomerang which might have resulted in my boomerang being damaged, broken or lost.
Today as a father I feel the exact same way about my son as I felt about my boomerang. My son is my son. I’m not going to allow someone else to serve as his father. I’m not going to take the chance of permitting someone else to chart his life’s course. I’m not going to outsource my paternal obligation and I will never ever do so. I will always express through active every day engagement just how much I love him and how much he means to me.
As was the case when I threw my boomerang, I chose its trajectory, the time required to become proficient at throwing it and I mastered the requisite energy to be expended so that my boomerang would always return to me regardless of external conditions. Today, I actively love my son and vigorously aid him in his pursuit of his life’s goals. I dedicate whatever time it takes to help him reach his full potential as a man. I refuse to let any outside influences keep me from fulfilling the oath that I took when he was born – to love him energetically, completely and unequivocally until my very last breath.
Back in the day, I played with my boomerang alone because I enjoyed it; I didn’t want it to be lost, stolen or destroyed; and wanted it to return to me. Today, I love my son because he is my son and that alone is enough. However, I also selfishly understand the “Circle of Life”.
Today I am the King of my castle but one day sooner than I would like to admit he will be the King and I will be his willing subject. In loving him actively today, I am confident that when the time arrives for him to be King and I am therefore required to count on his benevolence, he will love me, as I loved him unequivocally, happily and willingly.
Just like my boomerang, I have no worries about my son’s trajectory, energy, time or return. I welcome the expression “what goes around comes around”. I know that I have actively loved my son so sufficiently that when needed not only will he joyfully return to my side but he will bring in even greater abundance the same active love that I once doled out to him.
Parents, love is a verb – love is a boomerang.
Previously Published on The RS Project