An ad for the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” popped up on my screen.  For some reason, I took a pause.  Perhaps it was because I wanted to reflect on the gentleness and calm of Fred Rogers who for more than thirty years told his young viewers that “helping love grow is the most important thing we can do.”

Mr. Rogers’s simple words were a statement of great wisdom, for what could be of more value than to help love grow.  The greatest achievement of any life is to love well; in fact, our ability to love well is the truest barometer of our success.  Love is something we absolutely must express to feel that life is really worth living.  Something in us knows that when we’ve missed dedicating our heart and soul to loving, we’ve missed the essence of life, we’ve missed experiencing life’s greatest treasure.

Certainly, our strong positive emotions of regard and affection are involved in loving, but they cannot be our only criteria, for love is not mere sentiment.  Genuine love is coupled with action – deliberate, purposeful action with the intention of promoting the well-being and happiness of another.  The very nature of love is the desire to bring joy and happiness through giving, caring, and sharing without a hidden agenda.  We may endlessly declare our love, but it is our actions that show it.