February is one of the year’s most anticipated month by couples besides December. It is probably the season when the media is flooded with love messages, stories, love tag lines and pick-up lines. Some may have good and memorable experience when February comes while others are reminded with painful ones. The world has its own demonstration of what love is and people have different concepts what it means.
I think that many people are informed with the wrong concepts of Love. Unawarely, those concepts comes from the voices and information they see around, read and hear from the media, from their homes, school and people they are connected with. As people are exposed, these thoughts build up within becoming their very core principles when it comes to love and relationships. I think that these are why many associate love with hurt, pain and suffering. I even often hear and watch how these wrong concepts of love destroy individual lives and even families. A “heartbroken state” has now become like a disease that needs to be given serious treatment. Some of these concepts and cliches are:
1. Age doesn’t matter
2. Expressed through Sex
3. Collect and Select
4. Follow Your heart
5. Love is Blind
6. Love hurts, wounds and scars
7. “Hahamakin lahat masunod ka Lamang”
A lot of people have their own concepts of what Love is. And what was mentioned are some of those that they believe. People make movies, write books, compose songs and create radio or TV programs just to show and illustrate what they think Love is or how it should be. Oftentimes, these beliefs lead to irresponsible decisions that taint what true love and relationships is all about.
Consequences of Some Love Concepts:
Because they say that – “Age does not matter”, many young people as early as thirteen gets into exclusive relationships with their boyfriend or girlfriend. On the other hand, some people oppose moral standards and the law and marry young girls as early as under 18.
Because they say that– “Love is expressed in sex”, many young people make it a norm to engage in pre-marital sex because they believed that sex is proof of love. This norm however has brought many societal problems that our country is burdened of.
Because they say to – “Collect and Select”, many boys and even girls have this idea that it’s ok to collect then select from your collection of exes who’s the best or until you think you found the one. What is wrong with this is that their quest in finding the right one is centered on themselves – its mere selfishness. Many times, the other partner becomes object of an experiment and ends up scarred and hurt after all the emotional investment.
Because they say– “Follow your heart”, many young people neglect the reasoning of the brain about the consequences of actions, and risk their hearts into temptations and pitfalls of immaturity. A research reveal that the pre-frontal cortex – the part of the brain that has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior becomes fully developed during the mid 20’s. This suggests that teenagers don’t have the full capability to understand and reason, and so most of the times, they just follow what they feel is best.
Because they say that – “Love is blind” and “Love hurts, wounds and scars”, many young people are accustomed to associating love with negative consequences. These negative connotations about relationships have been formed in advance in their minds overcoming positivity. In many motivational talks about the power of the mind, it is often stated that you become what you think. Many fall into broken relationships because they’ve expected and entertained these negativeness.
In the famous book of Francisco Balagtas, he wrote; “O pag-ibig na makapangyarihan, hahamakin lahat masunod ka lamang” (O powerful love, you defy/despise/risk all just to get what you want”). This may be true depending on the context but it is often perceived in a wrong way. Last month, I went to visit a co-faculty in another building and was about to enter the room when I saw a crying lady talking to my co-faculty. I stepped outside to wait. A middle-aged man approached me a little later and told me that his wife was talking to the teacher. The man told me that her daughter who is about to graduate is three months pregnant. He then told me how it hurt him to know that her daughter is about to bear a child, and further mentioned the quote from Francisco Balagtas. He said that the power of love has led her daughter to disobey. I listened for quite awhile then I told him what I think, that it isn’t love after all. I told him that true love will patiently wait and that it is concerned with the welfare of the other. I told him that it was maybe lust. I told him that true love brings out the best in every person, and does not defy good moral.
I believe that teenagers and young people can consciously make a choice. I believe that as we humans are of the highest kind among all creation, and are given freedom – we are not animals who do and manifest inhumane behavior. Young people however need our guidance. We have to guide them to do the right thing. It is not right to think that teens will always be teens and not correct the wrong that they do. I once met a foreigner (an esteemed director of a certain NGO) who thinks that the young are incapable of controlling their behavior and to make right choices – And so, they go to schools teaching the kids how to use condom. I opposed her at the end of her lecture and reasoned that young people are capable of doing the right choice. The reason why young people make wrong choices is because nobody is teaching them the right choices to take and the skill how to choose them. To let the students have a changed behavior is a long process that few want to invest to. This person seems to have stopped teaching the young people the right morals and so resorted to teaching preventive measures. Teaching the youth is a process that may require even years, in order to mold them to be the persons they have to be. They must be constantly guided, taught and mentored. The director obviously didn’t get my point. She was way older, and must have thought that she knew better. They continue to go from schools to schools informing and teaching the young kids and teens to express their sexual thoughts and use condoms. One person said that they have to do it in order to get more funding from Europe or America.
This now poses a great challenge to all of us. The word of God tells us in Romans 1 about how the world refuses to understand and uphold the truth. The aggressiveness of the world to spread should not keep us on our seats and wait. It should not stop us from planning and implementing even more serious options in order to deliver the right message. We shouldn’t just watch and pray but we must also do something about it.
Last February 14, I was invited by the university student council to speak about Love in an event they have organized. About a hundred students gathered when I started. As I started showing them a video intro, it was obvious how teenagers today gets excited with such topics. I saw wide smiles, mocking pouts, little screams, giggles and repeated comments. I have prepared a 40-minute talk and half of what I shared is the acronym that I made – L-O-V-A-B-L-E.
I believe that these are the things that we need to teach the teens and the young people.
List your Goals and plans that you want to accomplish
-People get lost along the way and achieve nothing because they don’t have goals that direct them.
Order your Life
-Prioritize activities that will help you reach your goal and accomplish first the things that are important to you.
-Avoid what distracts your attention and focus.
-Set high standard for yourself.
Abstain from any sexual relationship until marriage.
-Sex is a gift of God to married couples.
Be Accountable to Someone
-Find a Mentor who will guide, teach and monitor you.
Leave the past behind
-Don’t get tied up with your past, or you wont move.
-Forgive yourself and others.
-Forget. Be thankful and Move On
Establish and nurture your relationship with the author of Love.
-To understand love, one must have an encounter with Love itself who is GOD (1 John 4:8)…
My advice to the young people – Be Lovable.
One advice I heard from a post-valentine event speaker (Kuya Arman) last month – “You only say I Love You to the person, if you are willing to die for her”.