Art by Sam Liacos.
Love can be tough. But having someone by our side, who loves us unconditionally, tends to soften the pain of the lows and heighten the joy of the highs. One source of unconditional love for many is family–warm, wise relatives, such as parents, who’ve gone through similar lows and highs themselves. And while there’s no blueprint to love, keys to navigate are essential, even if it’s to have in the back of our pockets. In celebration of Father’s Day, a handful of admirable dads offer their children advice about love.
“My babies are still young so I’m still trying to articulate how and when I’m gonna tell them this, but…when they reach the age that puppy love kicks in, and it evolves to real love, I would tell them: love wholeheartedly. Love with your mind and heart, but know how to differentiate the two. Your mind will tell you how to love, but you can’t control what your heart feels.”
“I’d offer my little ones the words ‘I love you.’ I never even realized it, but no one told me they loved me verbally when I was growing up. Sure, they may have expressed it in toys and trips to the park, but the actual words were far and few. Over time that weighs and that weight shapes you; the words ‘I love you’ soften those prospective shapes.
So I wouldn’t advise them about love, that’s an experience all to ones own, but instead I’ll simply speak the words love to them and allow them to be comfortable and aware of it.”
“Don’t try to promise everything to someone you love, just put everything into your promises to them.”
“My advice to my daughter is to always keep God first, be humble, and deal with people as individuals. Understand that someone who looks like you can stab you in the back and someone who doesn’t look like you can take the knife out.
As a young woman of color, never compromise yourself or your culture to conform to the majority, your friends, or even your significant other. Last but not least, I want my daughter to understand that she is beautiful and not because anyone tells her but because God has blessed her with the opportunity to live a life that can be a blessing to others.”
“Follow your heart, stay grounded and reach for the stars. You deserve everything you seek from a loved one. Don’t be afraid of a broken heart. It only makes you stronger if you allow it mend. Real love is the only thing money can’t buy.”
“The most important thing I’ve been really thinking about lately when it comes to my son, and the theme of love and what I’d want him to know, is that there are so many ways and kinds of love and there is no wrong or right way to love things, someone, himself, life, the world, etc.
To be able to know as many kinds of love and to have a foundation of love is something I can only hope to instill in him every day we’re together on Earth. The love that I and his mom have for him is something we’ll never be able to fully describe to him, and I can only hope he finds love like this for himself, for others, and for the overall process of loving.”