Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Child's Love

Yes, today is Valentine's Day!! A great time for people in long-term, short-term, and even budding relationships to flourish and renew their vows and feelings for each other!!

But, on this lover's holiday, I want to talk about another kind of love - a child's love. Can we learn to love other people better through watching the actions of a child? YES, we can! Check out this story:

Those who know me are aware that I am an obsessed fan of the Detroit Lions - a true fanatic! Yes, the 0-16 Lions; yes, the same Lions who have not won a championship since 1957 (before I was born!); yes, the same Lions who have won only one playoff game in 51 years; yes, the same Lions who have had me not miss a game in 40+ years, either in-person, on the radio, or on television.

Well, when my daughter was about 2 year old, and before my sons were born, I decided that it would be great to have somebody with me while I watched the Lions (this was in the days of Barry Sanders, Hermann Moore, etc., so the Lions were pretty good!). I asked my 2-year-old daughter if she wanted to watch the Lions' game with me. She said "YES"!! So, on most Sundays for the next few years, my daughter, far from ever being called rough and rugged, sat down with her favorite dad to watch the Lions!!

I explained the finer points of the game to her; we cheered together when the Lions scored; we danced to the music on the commercials; and we even enjoyed halftime snacks together! I couldn't believe that it looked as though I had a Lions' buddy for life - my own daughter was crazy about the Lions - just like her dad!!

Well, as time ticked away and she became a little older, offers to play at friends' houses came in on Sunday afternoons. So, we didn't watch the Lions together as much anymore. Eventually, as she approached her 8th birthday, it was noted, in fact, that she did not watch the Lions with me at all anymore - at least not full games.

Sure, she would sit and watch several plays, but then she would be off! I could not understand such behavior. I can never miss a Lions' game and there she was - giving up on watching full games to do, well, girlish things with her friends!! Can you imagine that?!?!?

Just before her 21st birthday, the Lions were going to play on Thanksgiving Day. I had to beg her to watch the game with me. She told me that she had other things to do. I asked her to watch a quarter with me for old times sake. She told me that she was going to be quite busy. I then asked her to watch the first series of downs with me. She agreed!

I then asked her how she could have spent her early years watching the Lions every single Sunday with me and then just give it up. I have not been able to give up my Lions' obsession at all!

Ah, here is where the child's love comes in: My daughter confessed that she never liked football, she had no feelings for the Lions, and she had multiple interests in her early childhood - none of which involved football or the Lions.

She confided that she only watched the Lions with me because she wanted to be with her dad!! Even though she was lavished with attention, she knew that she could have me all to herself on Sunday afternoons - so she became a short-term Lions fan! Apparently, after the subconsciously realized that dad would still love her and spend billions of hours with her even if she never watched the Lions, she turned her attention to other important things in life, such as Barbie Dolls, playing house, and entertaining friends!

Yes, my child's love led her to wanting to spend quality and quantity time with me - a lesson from which all of us could benefit when dealing with other people, especially including our families and friends!

Oh, by the way, on Thanksgiving Day, my daughter sat in the Family Room with me for much more than a series of downs - we sat together for the entire Lions' debacle - another embarrassing thrashing on national TV!!

Ah, yes, a child's love - each of us could learn a lesson!

Paul W. Reeves

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