Student ponders meaning, dynamics of love

Published: February 25, 2016

Commentary by
JONATHAN RIZZO

When I was at the dentist’s office for a checkup, I was enlightened. Something that I never realized before was brought before me.

My dentist was talking about love. He told me that his father said to him, “Remember, she’s only my wife,” in respect to my dentist’s mother.

My dentist was talking about how his mother was a “mother” to him, showing unconditional love in all that she did for him.
His father felt differently toward his mother, but that was okay.

He went on by saying that there are different kinds of love, and having the kind of love his father had for his mother doesn’t make him any less of a person than having the kind of love for his children.

But maybe I don’t really understand love.

Doesn’t everyone love their family and friends the same?

I’m sure that most people will tell you that they love their mother, for example, but not in the same way they’d love a stepparent, if they had one. The maternal bond of a mother and child is surely different from the circumstances leading up to a stranger becoming your stepparent. In realizing this I became uneasy with myself, thinking I was less of a person because I “love less” when it comes to people who are not my immediate family. But then I realized that this is normal. I don’t hate those who are not my immediate family, nor do I not care about them. I care for those members of my family and friends quite a bit, and while the bond with them might not be that of the bond between my mother and me, it still is love.

My dentist was saying how he loved his kids unconditionally and does a lot for them, but felt differently about his wife when he was with her, even though she was the mother of his children. He still loved her, but it was a different kind of love.

It wasn’t the unconditional love he had for his children. Does this make him or anyone else a bad person, or less of a person?

While it may seem so, love between a parent and child is unconditional.

Maybe I’ll understand if I’m a parent one day, but I do understand the difference between the love for my mother and the love for a cousin or step parent.

It can be hard to classify love, and whether the difference between one “love” to another is a greater secretion of oxytocin, who knows?

I think that for me, this whole experience teaches me that I should reevaluate the areas, people and situations in my life that are lacking love, or may require more love.

I want to be a good person, but maybe I need to figure out how to love first before I can do that.

Contact the writer: jonathan.rizzo2@scranton.edu

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