Love is a Verb

The current model of girlhood in our culture, beginning at a very young age, is disturbing on many levels.

Emily asked me recently if she was pretty. I assured her that she was, and then we talked about what made girls really lovely. I told her that beautiful girls are the ones who care about other people and who know how to use their hands and their minds to do something useful for others.

We talked about kindness and how that makes people attractive. “You can have an outside that’s shiny and perfect, and yet have a rotten, ugly inside,” I told her. She took all of that in thoughtfully.

The concept of sacrificing for others isn’t a celebrated theme in our culture. Many young girls spend countless hours texting their lives away with nonsense, wasting precious time, living for themselves, while parents sacrifice to give them the latest technology. It’s foolish and a tragic use of their minds, bodies and gifts.

Countering the current mentality is not easy, but as mothers, we can demonstrate service towards others and love in action, and we can pray that the model we give our girls is one of usefulness rather than self-worship and sloth that is sure destruction.

The best message we can give our daughters and sons is that love is action, not just words. Whether ironing school blouses or making a meal or shoveling or whatever it is that comes to us to do, all of it is serving those we love. Even if we think we are unappreciated, these acts of service are never wasted. It does something in our own character. As Christ-ians, if we aren’t doing this, we are using a name we are not entitled to. Love acts. Anything less is fraud.

ironing

9 thoughts on “Love is a Verb

  1. Ingrid says:

    Looking back at my own girlhood, I wish I had done so much more to help my own mother. Mothers, more than anyone, deserve every hand of help they can get from sons and daughters. I can’t say this strongly enough. Young people ought to do it out of sheer loving gratitude. Having failed in this regard in many ways as a girl and teen, I emphasize this to my kids who will likely be spouses some day. And parents have a duty to instill this in their young people. Get off your backside and help! Parents, don’t be martyrs.

  2. Judi Hayes says:

    “We talked about kindness and how that makes people attractive.”
    I had an epiphany moment in high school re. that very concept. My junior year we moved from a very small school (24 students in my class) to a bigger school (80 some students in my class). I observed when we first moved that it seemed odd to me that in this larger school there were fewer “good-looking” kids than at my former school. Later in the school year, after I’d gotten to know my classmates, I re-visited the concept one random day and thought, “They’ve gotten better looking than I thought at first!” I realized it was because I’d gotten to know them as persons and they were no longer just what I saw on the outside, but what I knew them to be on the inside! What a wonderful revelation that was to me in my adolescent development. I am so thankful that GOD taught me that lesson relatively early in life.

  3. Kris says:

    There is so much emphasis put on “looks” these days. No matter where you turn. It’s
    frightening. That’s not what counts. It’s what is in our heart that matters. Kindness, a smile or hug, thoughtfulness, caring, love (the right way), concern, a good deed, compliment, respect…these things you rarely see or hear any longer. It’s what is on the inside that matters. The Golden Rule is something that was taught a long time ago. Today I don’t think hardly
    anyone knows of it. Looks will fade away, but how you act and present yourself will stay with
    you forever.

  4. Beverley says:

    What a beautiful post and the comments that followed. So very true that LOVE is a verb.
    Can we ever do enough to show our LOVE for the Saviour and Lord of our lives except we LOVE as HE loves us? The reality of this sinks in as we witness so many neglected elderly as their “loved ones” have sometimes found it more important to “follow their dreams.”

  5. Donna says:

    There can be someone with the most perfect face and hair and figure and clothes. But if she is self-absorbed or unkind or rude, she will become ugly. And there can be someone who might at first look seem plain or even homely. But if she is kind and open-hearted and loving, you will start to notice a beautiful smile or eyes or expression or joyful laugh–and you will realize she is lovely. My dear late mother used to say that at 20 you have the face you were given, but after 40 you have the face you have earned. And I have seen it so many times–girls who were really pretty becoming hard looking or bloated women, girls who were overlooked becoming beauties because their soul shines through.

  6. Denise says:

    Mothers often encourage very young girls to obsess over physical appearance. They see it as a sign of “maturity”. Our oldest granddaughter dances in a ballet troupe, and has worn makeup on and off the stage since the age of 8. She is 13 now and so deeply obsessed with her body image, I find it very disturbing. We have very little influence in her life, and it’s heartbreaking. This trend has accelerated in society, and I pray that these precious girls can develop the beauty within.

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