Why Love?

By Amarachi Favour Maduka
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Amarachi Favour Maduka

Love(noun): a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personalities. An attraction based on sexual desires( affection felt by lovers) Merriam Webster Dictionary (2011). From the definitions stated , it can be deduced that love is a "strong affection"one has for someone or something. This affection is exhibited by all (young and old) . It is evident on how importance is placed on these things or persons. However , a close perusal needs to be taken on the second definition which is "an attraction based on sexual desires" for young adults which brings us to the focus of this discourse.

Love in this context is the most sought-after among adolescents as this is peculiar to them , Self identity as well as social skill which includes the call for attention among opposite gender is indispensable. They are attracted to each other as a result of exposure and constant communication in their daily activities like studies , social activities,work and so on. This is liable to expose them to erotic development of interest for one another and may dream of romantic love (infatuation) in most cases. This is not to say that certain bonds shared by some are not platonic.

It is worthy of note that the development of sexual hormones is one of the factors that enhances their sexual desire which builds a sensual arousal , making them feel unease at the early stage . This poses the tendency of certain misconception about their sexuality. They become confused. They are left with questions that need answers because these feelings and emotions are new and strange to them. Their sexuality is put to test. The quest for these answers and how to respond or react to these body signals is activated . Therefore, they are faced with the choice to either communicate this phenomenon to their parents, guardians or friends. This stage can be referred to as " unearthening the presence of a love tank that needs filling".

The sub- adult has discovered that he/she has a love tank conceptualized has being empty( sometimes might be false) which needs to be filled . At this juncture, they need a MAP(mentor, advocate and parent) to guide , enlighten and prepare them towards the transitional activities they are likely to experience at this stage. Their conscience is internalized. Hitherto, the adolescent needs to know that:

Attraction to the opposite gender is not unethical rather it is a part of the metamorphosis peculiar to their moment but they can navigate this feeling responsibly taking cognisance of societal norms and values that are beneficial to them and help carve a respectable identity for themselves.

Having the feeling to be loved by anyone (parents, guardians,friends) is natural. It is part of what makes any individual human.

What they term to be love (sexual attraction) is only but infatuation where intimate affair is involved and they are prone to take risks they are not ready for. They need time to grow and blossom into maturity; they are like seeds planted and nurtured to spring forth good,viable and healthy fruits but cannot be plucked or eaten if they are unripe.

The best love they can ever experience is "self love". It comes from within. It helps them discover the need to be responsible for themselves. External love sought-after cannot be enough because loneliness is a vacuum that cannot be filled by anyone except themselves.

Regardless, the teenager's desire to fill his/her love tank can be achieved by parents/guardians through spending quality time with them. To give teenagers quality time is to give them a part of your life. That is, undivided attention, making them feel they are the focus of your life. Quality time is a powerful communicator of love. To achieve this, there has to be togetherness(it goes beyond mere proximity). It has to do with being in touch with each other, adequate conversations including heart to heart talks from time to time. This helps to build bond between the teenager and their parents. It also helps the parent identify with the needs of his/her adolescent. The needs of the adolescent are not necessarily material things. Though, it varies from one person to the other, some of which are affirming words when they are emotionally down, when they need to be encouraged for a job well done and so on. Gift atimes should be encouraged ( this tends to counter enticement from the opposite gender for females). Assistance with basic things they cannot handle even if they feel they do not need help sometimes they still do. All these are building blocks structured for a solid foundation which significantly helps fill the emotional (love) tank of the teenager. Thus develops confidence in them to face negative influence as they socialize with peers because the teenager is a creature of action.

Why love is a question the young adult seeks answer but they are left with the misconception of what love is all about. Poor orientation and inadequate communication regarding love, sex as well as their sexuality is also a factor of this misconception and confusion . This is a rallying cry to parents, guardians as well as teachers the need for proper and adequate orientation of the young adult on sex education. Not leaving out facts they need to know about bodily changes and emotional signals they experience in this phase of their lives; it is natural.It shouldn't be misinterpreted rather they are propellers that set them for maturity and they need "time" and "patience" to sail through so as to become responsible adults. For love and being loved is a beautiful thing and it is a prerequisite for humans to live in a peaceful and habitable environment even as God commanded, " love your neighbour as yourself".

©️2024 Amarachi Favour Maduka is a teacher and a teen coach.

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