The Star (St. Lucia) - - THE LIGHT SIDE -

Icould not have an­tic­i­pated the re­ac­tion of friends to my last ar­ti­cle (June 17) which spoke of love and loss, and my still strong be­lief in find­ing The One. Those re­ac­tions led me to more con­tem­pla­tion on love, and its real mean­ing.

For hu­man be­ings, I’ve found that love, com­pan­ion­ship and a feel­ing of be­long­ing are as ba­sic a need as eat­ing. And when we’re hun­gry, we eat. How do we rec­og­nize that our bod­ies re­quire nour­ish­ment of that na­ture? Well, for some it’s when our stom­ach rum­bles. For oth­ers it’s based on the time on the clock. More par­tic­u­larly, the time we last had our fill.

Hav­ing love, com­pan­ion­ship, or a sense of be­long­ing to some­one or a group is some­thing we learn from the time of un­der­stand­ing. Kids por­tray this in the most in­no­cent and truest form from a ten­der age. Con­sider preschool­ers, or chil­dren in day­care for ex­am­ple; re­gard­less of skin colour, hair tex­ture or ac­cent, their main con­cern is hav­ing some­one who en­joys play­ing with them, some­one who treats them right and is kind.

A few months back I shad­owed at an In­fant school in the tod­dler room. Due to the na­ture of the school, the class­room con­sisted of chil­dren from dif­fer­ent coun­tries which meant in that one class there were stu­dents who spoke dif­fer­ent lan­guages and were from var­ied back­grounds and cul­tures, with skin colours rang­ing from smooth caramel to dark choco­late. How­ever, none of those dif­fer­ences seemed to mat­ter.

I was amazed at how one lit­tle girl in par­tic­u­lar, who did not speak English, was al­most at all times the ring­leader of the games the chil­dren played. I learnt from that ex­pe­ri­ence about how pure and in­no­cent a child’s love can truly be.

Chil­dren are re­silient, and for­give quickly, which is one char­ac­ter­is­tic we seem to lose as we get older and life starts to get real. We see such ex­am­ples ev­ery day in the be­hav­iour of or­phans, street chil­dren and those per­ceived by so­ci­ety to be delin­quents. They are of­ten scarred, with trust is­sues de­vel­oped as a re­sult of their own life ex­pe­ri­ences.

Those for­tu­nate enough to find happy end­ings are only able to do so af­ter find­ing them­selves in a place where they can be nur­tured, moulded and shaped into the re­spectable and pro­duc­tive mem­bers of so­ci­ety they were al­ways meant to be. They are able to make such a tran­si­tion pri­mar­ily be­cause some­one who was once a stranger de­cided to com­mit to them, and show them love.

Fa­mous in­di­vid­u­als like Steve Jobs and Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe both had child­hoods with­out par­ents be­ing ac­tively in­volved. Steve Jobs was put up for adop­tion at a young age and Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe was thrust into the foster care sys­tem as a re­sult of hav­ing a men­tally ill mother and an ab­sen­tee fa­ther. None­the­less, th­ese two in­di­vid­u­als showed tremen­dous courage and rose above their cir­cum­stances, and to­day their tri­umphs serve as in­spi­ra­tion for many.

What I can say at this point is I’ve learnt through my ex­pe­ri­ences and those of oth­ers that love at its most gen­uine is so much more than just the phys­i­cal which we, as adults, fo­cus on; in­stead, it’s some­thing that stems from deep within.

Are there lessons on love to be learnt from Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe and Steve Jobs?

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