Book of Days

All I Really Need to Know About How to Love I Learned from Children


Lord Byron said that love is a spark of immortal fire and William Shakespeare equate love to a flame. But how do you ignite the spark to produce a flame? More importantly, how do you keep the flame burning?

Remember the carefreeness and innocence of childhood? We didn’t worry about finances, a job, or the corrupt government officials. We didn’t have bosses, deadlines, and we didn’t have to vote. All we had was an infinite energy to explore the world.

But as we grew up, we slowly lost the innocence. Our clear mind was being polluted slowly. The things that used to fascinate us were no longer noticed.

Babysitting for my nephew and my little cousins reminded me of the wonderful things about my childhood. They may be naive and fragile but there’s still a lot to learn from them especially in the department of love:

1. Be Affectionate
I hear children said “I love you” a lot with no conviction or what so ever. Growing up, I found that the sentences that are the hardest to utter are “I love you” and “I’m sorry”. Think about it, when was the last time you said “I love you” to your significant other or even to your parents?

2. Be Forgiving
Forgive and forget. My little cousins and nephew quarrel a lot but it is amazing how easily they forgive each other after the fight. My nephew when being scolded for being hard-headed would really cry and sulk in a corner but after a few while he would hug his mom. I hope we, adults, could be like that too then the earth would be a better place to live in.

3. Be Yourself
We would sometimes wear a mask to be liked. I remember one colleague shared that after marriage most men would wonder what happened to the woman they married. Children are not pretentious. They are very transparent. We know when they are happy. We know when they are sad. We know when they are angry. And they speak their mind with no hesitation. So don’t change yourself to be liked by a guy or a girl. If he or she does not like you for who you really are then move on. Chances are someone else will surely like and love the real you.

4. Be Fearless
When we were too young to know the consequences, the word ‘risk’ is not in our book. But as we grew up we develop inhibitions restraining us from expressing what we truly feel.

5. Just be Happy
My cousins and nephew giggle and laugh over simple things and sometimes over nothing at all. And that is just wonderful.

According to Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology, science can explain the cosiness, light-headedness, and the radiant feelings we feel when we are in love. But, why we fall in love with a particular person is still a bit of a mystery. Another odd thing is that we can trick ourselves into thinking that the other person is perfect when we are in love. Of course, no one is really perfect. But the more perfect we find each other, the longer our love will last.

Love is more than just a feeling. Love needs commitment and hard work. Perhaps, the key to loving and healthy relationships is not forgetting the sunny traits of a child.


  1. John

    @#1: why say I Love You when you can just do it? words are cheaper than a 100% discounted-hot-air-gift-freely-given-giveaway. Wonder why us men only say it once? Because we’ll do it always, and let you know only if that ever changes.
    @#2: children are more mature in this manner than most adults. children cry and forget and try to fix the mistake, while adults stay quiet and smile and wait for the day to stick it in your back. Beware! These people are usually very very nice in everything to keep you off-guard.
    @#3: Masks help people survive. Children are transparent because they don’t yet know better. But people learn, you know – the first time children became themselves they get shot down (usually by “adults” at #2), so they learn to spin cloaks of lies around themselves as they grow to protect themselves. Note: these cloaks spread thin as they reach old age, and the kid in themselves will come out. You may not even like it, and that means you could have been one of the “adults”. Everyone is.
    @#4: Correct. But if you are feeling fearless or cocky, there must be something you missed out. Be careful, people may die. Or rather, replace “careful” with “regretful”, because it may be already too late. The difference with being a kid and being an adult is the latter goes to prison.
    @#5: Correct. Do this always, except at funerals.

    “Love is more than just a feeling. Love needs commitment and hard work.” Love IS ONLY a feeling. Feelings pass and go. They could even name the hormones and neurotransmitters causing it. Staying in love needs commitment, REALLY hard work, and MONEY , because it only a feeling, in the same way drunks drink and drug addicts do drugs to SUPPORT A FEELING.

    Your article is correct in a lot of ways, miss. Everything everyone need to learn to love they DO learn as children. (One way to put it: Children LOVE, only to learn what everyone needs to.)

    Everyone just made the mistake of becoming adults.

So, what do you think ?