Friday, August 3, 2007

D. The Solution and Benefits

D. The Solution and Benefits
The solution to this problem is a very simple one and only involves the three simple words, "I love you." Many benefits come into the homes of families who express love meaningfully.
1. People usually love you back
Many have observed a phenomenon in human behavior called the boomerang principle. It means that what goes out usually comes back. For example, as someone has said, "If you don’t like someone you can bet the feeling is mutual." By the same token the opposite applies. One of the Apostles of Jesus Christ explained why they loved Jesus Chris: "We love him, because he first loved us." It is hard not to love someone who loves us. If we sincerely express our love to others, they will most likely have the same feelings toward us.
Tommy and Melissa
Thomas S. Monson tells a touching experience he had in a nursing home with a widow named Melissa. She had been one of his teachers at church when he was a small boy many years before. He had always loved her. He said:
"I found Melissa in the lunchroom. She stared at her plate of food, teasing it with the fork she held in her aged hand. Not a bite did she eat. As I spoke to her, my words were met with a benign but blank stare. I took the fork in hand and began to feed Melissa, talking all the time I did so about her service to boys and girls as a Primary worker. There wasn’t so much as a glimmer of recognition, far less a spoken word. Two other residents of the nursing home gazed at me with puzzled expressions. At last they spoke, saying: "She doesn’t know anyone, even her own family. She hasn’t said a word in all the years she’s been here."
Lunch ended. My one-sided conversation wound down. I stood to leave. I held her frail hand in mine, gazed into her wrinkled but beautiful countenance, and said: "God bless you, Melissa. Merry Christmas." Without warning, she spoke the words: "I know you. You’re Tommy Monson, my Primary boy. How I love you." She pressed my hand to her lips and bestowed on it the kiss of love. Tears coursed down her cheeks and bathed our clasped hands. Those hands, that day, were hallowed by heaven and graced by God. The herald angels did sing. Outside the sky was blue—azure blue. The air was cool—crispy cool. The snow was white—crystal white. The words of the Master seemed to have a personal meaning never before fully felt: "Woman, behold thy son!" And to his disciple, "Behold thy mother!" (John 19:26–27). (Ensign, Oct. 1996, 7.)
Do you think Thomas loved Melissa even more after that visit? A valuable lesson can be learned by all of us through this experience. The boomerang principle says if you express love, that love will come back to you.

2. Saying the words "I love you" can bring tender feelings that bond people together
Scott Shappel
In a church meeting one Sunday a father was talking in front of the congregation about his family and how much they meant to him. At one point he said, "I just want to tell my family how much I love them." Immediately after he said those words, his little three-year-old girl, who was sitting with her mother in the back of the church, stood up in her chair, put her hands up to her mouth and yelled loudly, "I love you too Dad." A very special feeling instantly entered the chapel. Almost everyone in the room got teary eyed after her outburst. Those three simple words expressed sincerely can have quite an effect on those who hear them.
Melinda Bosch Experience
When we moved back to Texas, one of my teenaged daughters became good friends with Melinda. Her parents had recently divorced and she lived with her father. We enjoyed Melinda’s frequent visits. One day I was sitting at our kitchen table talking to her and said, "Melinda, out of all Natalie’s friends I like you the best." She said, "I bet you say that to all her friends." I said, "Actually, you are the first one I have ever said that to." She made no reply and when I looked at her I saw that her lip was quivering and her eyes were filled with tears. Suddenly, I had the same feeling come over me and I got very emotional. Even though I didn’t actually say the words "I love you," what I did say meant the same thing and we both knew it. Do you think that Melinda and I were even closer friends after that experience? When feelings of love are expressed, it often bonds people even closer together.
Spencer Loves Stephanie
I was in a meeting a few years ago where Spencer age 17 was asked to speak. A handsome high school football player, he told how fast his life was passing by and said it seemed like yesterday when he was in middle school and now he was about to begin his senior year. It hit him that life flies by and that we had better take advantage of opportunities while we can. Then he said, "Tomorrow, my sister Stephanie is going back to college." As soon as the came from his mouth, Spencer got emotional. Showing emotion is something tough athletes are not supposed to do in our culture. He then turned and looked at his sister and said, "I haven’t told her often how much I love her." She was sitting close to him as he spoke. He was very sincere and everyone in the room knew it. A feeling of love permeated the room. I looked at his sister and saw that she was crying too. There is something about those simple words, when they are uttered with feeling, that has a tremendous impact.
Robert Hess Testimony
I attended a meeting of college students and heard Robert give a brief talk. His cousin Felix was in the audience that day. Felix was following the permissive college lifestyle and struggling to live gospel standards. Without warning and not related to what he was speaking about, Robert looked down from the podium, and with great emotion, said, "I just want to tell Felix that I love him." It was unexpected and seemed almost out of character for this college student to say those words. I looked over at Felix and saw big tears rolling down his cheeks. Felix began to change his lifestyle that day, as he and his cousin became even closer. I thought about a statement I read earlier that seemed to apply: "Love is the only element that can tenderize the human heart."

3. Hearing those words often can bring stability and success to families
We often hear the term dysfunctional family in our society. This means that the family is not functioning properly and that family members are usually struggling. On the other hand, we hear terms like successful or effective families. Of course, this means that family members are having their needs met and are progressing normally. Research studies have been conducted to understand the characteristics these effective families share in common. In a landmark study on successful families, researchers Kunz and Dyer asked the parents in effective families how they expressed love to family members?
Effective Families
Tell them we love them 97%
Do things for them 96%
Hugging 94%
Tell by writing or phoning 91%
Kissing 85%
(Effective Mormon Families, pp. 80-82.)
This research coincides with a statement made by Wills Cather who said: "Where there is great love, there are always miracles." (Readers Digest, April 1996 p.177.)

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