“The greatest thing you will ever learn is to love and be loved in return.” David Bowie *
This meme appeared on face/book early this morning, and I was immediately besotted, the words resonating within me in four-part harmony. The most appealing component of the saying is the part about learning: You don’t come stock with that ability, unless you have been raised in an extraordinary environment.
I have experienced this exchange of love and the result is that between the two of us, we have raised three fine sons. That is my ultimate accomplishment in life, right there, but one that could never have been achieved without the presence of love.
Boys who are raised in an environment, in which the mom is respected, loved and treated accordingly, grow up to treat their significant others in the same manner. I know this to be the case because I have both experienced it, and provided a similar example.
Love provides the foundation for this to occur. The plethora of challenges in life can rapidly wear one down without this component present in the home. There is constant reaffirmation of this love, as two people work together to raise children.
In our home we did not believe in spanking; we believed that time-outs, chores and communication were the better route to follow. Teaching three boys, within three years, two months of each other in age, not to hit one another by hitting them, made no sense whatsoever.
Gluten-Free Mama and I complemented each other on our own skill levels: the things I could not do, she handled with seeming ease, and there were things that I handled because of my own blue-collar background, that balanced things out.
An example I have alluded to in the past, is the fact the each of the three boys worked at the Chevron Station in the ‘Ville, and at different times, each got off of work at ten o’clock. That’s ten o’clock when de sun don’t shine.
There is no way I could ever have gone off the mountain and driven to town in the past, that late, just as there is no way I could do it today. And yet, it was the way it worked.
The things that I did, along with Gluten-Free Mama, include infusing the concept that hard work never hurt anyone, and that he who learns to work hard in life, will find ultimate satisfaction with that ability. I taught them that money is superfluous to what is important in life, and that it is better to love what you do, than to work with the ultimate goal of making money.
Two farmers and a high school teacher later, I see community contributors, who work hard at what they do. This completion of the circle cements my feeling that love is the greatest power, and that to love and be loved by another, is the greatest thing I have learned.
* I quote Ann Clark: “The song “Nature Boy,” from which this lyric is taken, was written in 1947 by George Alexander Aberle, who went by [lower case] eden ahbez.” [Much thanks, Ann!]