There are lots and lots of people who have responded (and who keep responding!) to Paul Johnson’s request that we share ways that we show love and that others show love to us. Oddly, most of today’s writers choose to remain anonymous.
I think I know why. I never want to tell everyone about all the wonderful things my own husband does for me, because I don’t want any ladies getting any ideas. He’s all mine, people! Back off!
That being the case, here’s what a bunch of anonymous writers (and a couple who have shared their names) have to say to us today.
I think that the subject is a great one. It would be nice to hear more positive things. I think we can all learn from each other in expressing more love. This world sure needs it.
I always try to say thank you to my family, my husband and children. Saying thank you helps them to respond better to me, too.
I make it a daily habit to even notice the small things. This is especially hard but most important on a bad day. I say thank you for taking out the garbage, thank you for being patient (especially to a small child who is trying hard to be still), thank you for feeding the dogs, or thank you for doing anything. I also try hard to thank the person for whatever it is I just asked them to do, like pick up their clothes. I also make sure to thank for the big things, such as doing the dishes, making your bed, yard work, and so on.
When I give thanks, it is amazing to see my own attitude change, to one of love and gratitude. Whenmy whole attitude changes, I emanate a sense of love to all those around me. Making this a daily habit, especially on bad days, is so important, and it brings so much peace into the home.
Thanks again for running this article.
Thanks for the reminder to be grateful, Grateful. It really does help the person who expresses the gratitude as much as it helps the person who receives it. And while we’re at it, it’s important to thank God, who is the giver of all good gifts. This is even (and perhaps especially) true when times are bad.
Mother Teresa said, “I cannot do great things, only littlethings with great love.” I agree and add, “And with that great love, God works miracles with our little acts. The impact of love isimmeasurable and eternal, and the efforts to show love are never, everwasted.”
You and Mother Teresa make a great team, Bob. I think I’m going to steal your quote for the end of today’s column.
This topic is a good idea. I get tired of reading complaints, complaints,complaints. Yawn. After all, we can all complain if “prompted.” I’m pretty much done with the complaining stage of my life. I like to see the good in everything because mostly it’s just life and that’s how it goes. Acceptance is important.
So, yes, love begets love. I love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are all about love. I love how love is stronger than hate. I don’t have a spouse right now, but if I did I would love him unconditionally, just as we love our children.
God loves us and saves judgment for the last day. Scientifically, our hearts are at their most relaxed when we are in the act of hugging someone, showing love. Is that a coincidence? I think not.
I like your idea, Accepting, that showing love is heart-healthy. Isn’t that true!
I once read a story about a grandmother who had a secret signal of love for her grandchildren. If she squeezed the grandchild’s hand quickly three times it meant I–Love–You. The children learned to respond with their own silent signal of love.
She later suffered a stroke, and it was her grandchildren’s silent hand squeezes that gave her the hope to recover. My grandchildren and I now share this silent signal often when we are together. It’s wonderfully reassuring, and brings smiles every time.
Silent signals are great, Monti. And the best thing is that they’re customizable! My own husband has a signal for me that I can spot across a room, or that he can remind me by making the motions on my knee. Every time he does it, I feel loved.
My husband shows his love by going to work everyday and bringing home his paycheck for our family. He showed love by partnering with me to adopt eight children, some with disabilities. We go on a date every week. We always tell our love to each other.
I show my love by telling him thank you often. I let him know that he makes me very happy. I do things for him that he has a hard time doing because of his full time job – things like laundry, cooking, and errands that have to be run during the day.
We show our love for each other by having a couple prayer daily and a family prayer daily and by reading scripture with our family daily, as often as we remember. We show our love by talking to each other about our concerns and projects that we want to do together or alone. We show our love by being a team and by not blaming each other if things don’t work out. We try to work together on solving the problem instead.
When we have disagreements, as we sometimes do, we say sorry to each other, make amends if needed, and move on. We show love to our children by spending time with them, having family nights, taking them out to eat, and going on vacations together.
I keep a journal for my grown children so I can share my thoughts, feelings, adventures, and testimony with them. Even though some of them are not active at church, they still love my journals. Every year, they get my journal for Christmas.
We have learned that it is best to teach by love and example, and every child has to walk his or her own path. Our job is to love them and keep all our promises to God and family.
It sounds as though you and your husband have made your luck, Lucky. You have a wonderful life, and it sounds as though gratitude is a big part of it.
I have written you several times in response to your column. As you have said, the latest request for letters is somewhat different. My response is also somewhat different. You stated that you did not anticipate much response, so maybe mine will be helpful and can assist in filling space.
Last year, my father passed away at the age of 77. In a discussion forum that same week, someone tried to say that the film No Country for Old Men was a “Modern Western,” and I disagreed with the very concept. In response, I wrote an answer in disagreement that formed part of what you will find below. I then turned what I wrote into a brief essay, which I published on a humor website (where I write for fun). I list that full response here.
Looking at that essay, I came to realize that it was more about “love” than any other topic; the love of my father for family, for God, for friends, and for country. Here it is:
This Really Is “No Country” for Old Men
Yesterday, I got into a discussion on-line with someone trying to defend movies like No Country for Old Men as being a “true modern western” and having the “western spirit.” Here is my response to him. Maybe I got a little bit preachy and maybe it is something that I just needed to say because of the moment, but I said it anyway.
Yes, this is a humor website. We do specialize in satire here. Another part of our mission, however, is to stand up for the values, morals, and ethics that have made this country great. Many of these are embodied in the Cowboy and in the Spirit of the West. This article will not make you laugh. It might, however, make you reflect on the type of individual you want to be yourself and how you want to be remembered by others.
I have walked the streets of Tombstone and Lincoln County and Old El Paso and the original Fort Bliss and Fort Davis and The Alamo and many other places where names are known only to history. I’ve seen the gravesites of John Wesley Hardin and Billy the Kid and have stood on the murder sites of Pat Garrett and Albert Fountain.
I’ve visited the Oliver Lee ranch and seen the remains of Frenchy’s cabin. I once saw Pancho Villa’s widow (almost 40 years ago) and have seen Rosa’s Cantina. I’ve helped to brand cattle and to shoe horses and to haul hay and to fix a fence line. I’ve lived in the remnants of the Old West (living in Texas and New Mexico for 95% of my life) and have felt that spirit, and it is not in movies like No Country for Old Men.
That true spirit only exists in some of the people. It is not something that is bottled and sold by Hollywood, no matter how pretty the packaging or what is shown on the movie poster or how much you pay the actors or how you market the movie.
I have not been very active on this website the past two weeks. One was due to a concussion that I suffered. The other is because my father passed away about a week ago and I just buried him on Tuesday.
Dad was 77 years old. Even though he made his living as a scientist in his working days, he was a true cowboy in every sense of the word. He grew up on a farm in Oklahoma and always thought of himself as an “Oklahoma Plowboy” (which he used as his CB handle).
He taught me how to ride and shoot as a youngster, but he also tried to teach me how to treat others and a value system. He took me camping and hiking and taught me a love of nature and of God’s creations, but also a sense of history and a healthy respect for the creations of man. I still feel that sense of right and wrong (which is why I cannot support movies that glorify the criminal element such as The Godfather or films with gratuitous violence or Satanic undertones).
Dad still, to his dying day, kissed my mother every night and thanked her for dinner. He still opened doors for ladies, refused to swear in front of a woman, and stood every time a woman walked into the room. He always removed his hat inside of a building (even if it was a large arena). He also stood and removed his hat every time the flag passed, always voted, stopped his car when a funeral procession drove by, and always over tipped (even if the service was poor).
Every day that he worked, he’d always give a little extra (believing that a man still gave an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wages). He went and helped every neighbor that was moving in or moving out to load or unload their moving van, generally offering and then driving his pick-up (when he still owned one) when it was needed. Dad once helped people from the church move eleven Saturday mornings in a row, sometimes more than one person per day (I know because he hauled me along each time and I counted!).
My father had the opportunity to attend a large university many miles away upon graduation from high school. Instead, he chose to remain at home in his small town and take care of his mother (as his father had died the year before). The job he could find that would pay him the most during his schooling was as a janitor, so he scrubbed toilets to support his mother and pay his tuition.
He was a member of the Church, and attended every Sunday. To some, he was Brother Hatch. To many, however, he was still Bishop Hatch (even though he had not served in that calling for 25 years). He prayed, in public and in private, and did not do it for honor or respect, but because he needed to speak to his Heavenly Father. He also owned a set of scriptures, and wore out several over the years because of overuse. He was not embarrassed to admit a belief in a superior being, but never crammed his testimony of God or Christ down anyone’s throat.
He built the house he died in back in 1963 for my mother and her two young sons, and was always fixing and improving it for them and for two other children when they joined the family. When my appendix ruptured in 1974, he hitchhiked 60 miles to get to the hospital as he wouldn’t trouble any of his co-workers to lose a day’s pay, leave, or vacation to give him a ride. He participated in tea parties with my sister and her dolls, built and repaired countless bicycles, wagons, and toys, and attended every school and church activity that involved anyone in his family, church, or neighborhood.
I remember once when I was about twelve (the anticipation for Christmas kept me awakefor most of the night) I heard him in the living room for hours, assembling toys my brothers and a kitchen for my sister. I didn’t doze off until after four, but he was up helping Santa Claus the entire night. The next day, though, he had no sleep, because he helped my brother learn to ride his bike, played countless board games and rounds of catch, and was served invisible food all day long.
He did it all in the spirit of the day and without a nap.
Today, our movies have to have “the anti-hero.” No such thing as the true, real hero exists anymore,, because heroes are not politically correct and don’t make great television. The athletes of Chariots of Fire (who refused to run on the Sabbath) have made way for Ray Lewis, Ben Roethlisberger, and Kobe Bryant. Instead of kids idolizing Audie Murphy or Alvin York, they all want to be tattoo-covered rappers and pimps and call women their bitches and ho’s.
The spirit of the Old West is a sense of growth and a constant striving for improvement, combined with high moral ethics, respect for other people, and love of God, family, and country. It is always standing up for what is right, even when you stand alone. It is staying after a church or school activity just to help put away tables and chairs, even when you were not asked. It is buying a fake poppy from an old soldier every year on Veteran’s Day and paying with a five and telling him to keep the change. It is still giving your seat to a woman on a bus or an airport shuttle. I know these things because Dad did them all. That is not found in any of the “modern” westerns.
I remember that I stood one time to give my seat to a woman on an airport shuttle. She smiled at me politely and moved to take the seat. Before she could sit, however, some self-important business weenie in a three-piece suit and speaking on his cell phone dived to take the seat. When I told my father about it, he shook his head, and then told me not to judge the man too harshly, as I didn’t know his circumstances and he might not have been “raised right.”
A cowboy never shot a man in the back, always took care of his livestock before he took care of himself, and never complained about doing his duty. He saw duty as a sacred trust and a sacred honor. Cowboys lived the Boy Scout law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful…) before there was even a Boy Scout organization.
Few men still have that code in their lives, and one of them was buried this week. You keep your modern westerns. I’ll hold on to the classic westerns and the classic men who still honor that way of life and live it’s values.
Today: In retrospect, the above essay was to honor the love my father showed to me and others. You don’t have to be a cowboy to love; you just have to have that spirit of love and spirit of Christ in your heart. I am 51 years old and am still trying to be the type of man my father was. I am still trying to learn to give that Christlike service. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I fail. The important part, however, is to try.
Alan W. Hatch
Proud son of the late William Henry Hatch of El Paso, Texas
Las Cruces, New Mexico
What a tribute, Alan! I’m sure your father was as proud of you as you were of him. Thanks for a great essay.
I try very hard to show love to my children by trying to see them as my Heavenly Father sees them and trying to treat them the way He would want me to treat them. At times this is easier than other times – but I have found if I pray that Heavenly Father will help me to see them the way he does, it helps a lot!
That’s a great suggestion, Trying. Another way of trying to put yourself into someone else’s shoes was brought forth in our Relief Society last week, when the lesson was “What Thinks Christ of Me?” We’re often thinking of what we think of Christ, but if we stop and wonder how He thinks of us, it may really affect the way we act toward others.
My husband always, always opens the car door for me, and holds my hand as we walk along together. I asked him once, what makes him feel loved. He said that when I take hold of his hand while we are driving. I also like to serve him treats that I have made for him.
My children and I show love for each other across the miles by frequent phone calls.
I want to thank you for an uplifting subject this week. That which we give our thoughts, time, energy, and voice to, expands to fill our world, and that of others. As we all share our love and kindness with one another, we can all be uplifted together.
Thank you for the positive subject this week.
Thanks for your letter, Victoria. It was neat how you questioned your husband to see what ways you show love for him have made an impression on him. We never know which of our actions will make the biggest impression on others.
We’ve been married more than twenty years. Before we married I told him that my idea of being rich was cut flowers in the house, thick bathrobes and first class flying. Ever since each week he brings me flowers. Sometimes it is a dandelion, or even a tissue made into a flower. Occasionally it is a picture of a flower when his resources are tight. But every week flowers. (And when he buys them he says that the cashiers and/or people in line always ask him what he is in trouble for.)
Happy in Florida
One of the things that really makes a person feel loved is being listened to. Happy, it looks as though you found a man who not only listens, but also remembers. Sweet!
I’m pretty sure that you are not going to get a lot of responses for this topic. Probably because most of us don’t consciously think about what we do to express our love; those acts are simply part of us. Grabbing a child and smothering her with kisses is simply an extension of the emotion that led to it. Getting up early and making a healthy lunch for your spouse to take to work is just part of the day. Almost every action is guided by our love for each other as God’s children.
Something that I do on a regular basis that seems to surprise strangers is to give my seat to others. Usually the person is elderly, but sometimes it is a pregnant woman, a parent with small children, a disabled person, or just a person who looks really tired. One day, while sitting waiting for an appointment, I got up several times to give my seat to others as they came into the room.
After I had done this about three times, other people started doing it. It was a beautiful thing to witness, how good we are to each other when we remember to be.
Something else I do is just listen. I’m not a great conversationalist, I don’t carry my side very well, I don’t have much to say about myself. However, I love listening to other people tell me about what is going on with them. I am genuinely interested in what they have to say, and I guess it shows because people love telling me about themselves. I know more about my husband’s family than he does, because I’m the one they call to talk to. Along with being a listener, comes the ability to keep confidences. It is so important for others to have someone to trust.
My husband and kids show love for me by going to visit grandparents once in a while so that I can have some silence in the house and can focus on one thing at a time. My sisters and brother brag about my cooking to the rest of the family. Church members offer rides and regularly call just to check up on me. Neighbors share the products of their gardens and kitchens.
I could go on and on, but what I am basically saying is that we do these things because we love our Heavenly Father and we love our fellow beings as children of our Father. What a wonderful topic!
What a great letter, Malia! Of course, you were as wrong as I was about whether people would respond to this topic. I’m glad we were wrong. I’m enjoying reading what readers have experienced.
I can remember a Sunday in a new ward as a transplant to Utah from California. The best moments came from two babies in Relief Society who smiled and greeted me. They seemed to sense what I needed.
I highly recommend a little book by Virginia H. Pearce entitled A Heart Like His;. It is imple, but so wise. We tend to forget what works.
Isn’t it amazing, Grateful, how babies who can’t even talk can perform acts of service. I really enjoy watching the babies and toddlers in our ward every week. It’s one of the highlights of Sunday.
I grew up in a home where “I love you wasn’t said” and you got a kiss on your birthday (my husband had the exact opposite upbringing), so I can relate to DL and the touching thing. I love it! Especially at night, it is so comforting.
So how did I know my parents loved us? They loved each other, because my dad was always standing up for my mum if we were giving her a hard time, and he put her first. They would bear their testimonies and say they loved the Savior, so I thought, they must love us too.
They would always tell us if we ever needed anything or anything bad ever happened to come and tell them, and they wouldn’t get mad! And they would throw in, “We love you kids,” so we knew they did – deep down
In my new family, I have tried to follow my husband and his touchy-feely side more and to tell my children that I do love them, even though it is out of my comfort zone, and especially when bearing my testimony, I try to slip it in.
My husband will never leave or enter the house without kissing me and hugging me hello or goodbye. My kids see this all the time, so I hope they will take that naturally into their marriages as the way it should be. When we sit on the couch, we tend to drape ourselves over each other. I like that. It shows me he loves being near me and he will always call me sometime during the day just to say hi.
I need to step it up a bit to show him I love him, because he is really good at it. Maybe I will make him breakfast tomorrow, as a treat!
Nicola in New Zealand
Thanks for pointing out, Nicola, that it’s never too late to learn a new way of showing love.
Okay, people, that’s it for this week. We do not need any more letters on this topic, so don’t even think about sending one! If you feel as though you must address the subject, testimony meeting is a good place to do it. As long as we’re spreading the love, we might as well also spread it to ward members who may not know about Meridian Magazine.
Until next week – Kathy
“I cannot do great things, only littlethings with great love.And with that great love, God works miracles with our little acts. The impact of love isimmeasurable and eternal, and the efforts to show love are never, everwasted.”
Mother Teresa and Bob
Want more Kathryn H. Kidd? Visit www.planetkathy.com to read her blog , get free stuff, and participate in the new Ask Madame Kathy forum. Kathy also has a weekly column at the Nauvoo Times (www.nauvootimes.com).