Having three kids Alisha (9), Maria (6) and Thomas (2), we simply marvel every time we hear the word “love.” We hear it at least ten times a day: “Mamma, Appa I love you.” “I love you 1,000 times more than you love me,” or “I love you ‘mostest!’” It goes on with different versions and styles. Aren't these words really priceless? Yes they are. Universal by nature, love is also subjective and internally driven. It is a most precious feeling that can give us a sense of purpose—and love can uplift us when we experience failure or traumatic life events.
Sangeetha and I are grateful to have a beautiful family where we express this love among each other—it’s this love that keeps us going. Of course we fight and bicker, and sometimes we say things we later regret. We can be selfish. We feel sad, and at times we fail. But when we return to love, we feel “better and best!” We remind the kids that it's always better to love than to hate.
As parents we want this “love phenomenon” to be central in our family and in our life. We try to let our children experience the power of love in many circumstances, whether it’s helping them forgive a friend, their own sibling, or someone who has hurt them. Every time such an occasion for practicing love and forgiveness occurs, we are on common ground—where children and parents can learn together about the various ways we experience (and sometimes do not experience) love and forgiveness.
It’s this same common ground of learning that XOXO, an exhibit at the Children’s Museum Pittsburgh seeks to provide. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with their team on a project—a traveling exhibit—that allows opportunities for parents and caregivers to explore the concept of love and forgiveness with children.
I will be there on February 14 when the XOXO exhibit opens. As a parent, I am eager to observe how families and children experience the exhibit, and I invite everyone in the Pittsburgh area to visit with your children to experience this special space.
Kurian Thomas is a program officer at the Fetzer Institute. He and his wife Sangeetha have been together for 10 years and are grateful for their three "treasures," Alisha, Maria, and Thomas.