The great Leo Tolstoy once wrote, “I think… If it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.”
One has to simply ask the people in their own lives what love means to them to see the truth of Tolstoy’s words.
Love has a different meaning to everyone. It’s not supposed to mean just one thing, so throughout this article different age groups will be asked what they believe love is, and what love means to them.
When asked what love means, 6-year-old Rory from Hillsborough, NJ quickly responded that it means to “kiss someone and have them love you.” He also explained that when you love someone you go on dates with them, but remained silent when it came to sharing any details about his own love life.
When pressed he said he loves his dad, Nana, and mom because they all help him and play with him. He finally admitted to loving his older sister, Eva, even though she sometimes yells at him.
“Love means caring about someone so deeply that you would put that person’s happiness above your own,” said 16-year-old Grace DeLisle, a sophomore at Delaware Valley Regional High School.
Grace appreciates how she can easily talk to her family, how smart they all are, and the good advice they give. She also admires how honest, loving, and helpful they are.
31-year-old Alexa Cary, who co-owns In-House Prints in Frenchtown, NJ with her husband Tyler, is a newlywed. “Love to me is finding someone who wants to make you the best that you can be. It’s finding joy in the small things and doing the right thing even when it’s hard,” Cary said. “My husband, Tyler, has been a prime example of love in my life. He has pushed me to do things I would never even dream of doing because he has such confidence in the person I can become.”
Thirty-three-year-old English teacher, Brian Smith, believes that even though there are many different kinds of love, the meaning behind love is always the same: the feeling that your life wouldn’t be complete without the other person.
The Delaware Valley HS teacher believes that the person you love can turn a bad day into a good day, and a good day into an even better day. For Mr. Smith, that person is his wife, whom he considers his best friend; he feels so lucky to wake up to having her in his life each day.
Love isn’t always easy, it’s constantly being tested through hardships, so when Rutgers football player, Eric LeGrand, was first paralyzed from the neck down on a football field in October of 2010, what helped carry him through his recovery was a mother’s love. Karen LeGrand, now 61, of Avenel, NJ, experienced a mother’s worst nightmare in seeing one her children so severely injured, but as a mom, she already knew that a mother’s love means: “sacrifice and unconditional support.”
In Karen’s view, a loving mother “will put your wants and needs aside to support your children however they need it. Whether it’s emotionally or physically, it doesn’t matter; you give them what they need unconditionally. It also means doing your best to lead them down the right path. This love never changes no matter how old your children get.” Eleven years later, Karen continues to champion and support both of her children in every aspect of their lives.
It is clear that while the definition of love may vary from person to person, the presence of love adds meaning to every life that it touches. This Valentine’s Day, instead of focusing on flowers, chocolate, and expensive jewelry, take time to appreciate the loved ones who add such joy and light to your life.