30 May “Mum, dad, thank you” | Part A’
For most children before the age from eight and a half to ten,” the problem is almost exclusively that of being loved— of being loved for what one is. The child up to this age does not yet love; he responds gratefully, joyfully to being loved. At this point of the child’s development a new factor enters into the picture: that of a new feeling of producing love by one’s own activity, For the first time, the child thinks of giving something to mother (or to father), of producing something—a poem, a drawing, or whatever it may be. For the first time in the child’s life the idea of love is transformed from being loved into loving; into creating love. It takes many years from this first beginning to the maturing of love. Eventually the child, who may now be an adolescent, has overcome his egocentricity; the other person is not any more primarily a means to the satisfaction of his own needs. The needs of the other person are as important as his own—in fact, they have become more important. To give has become more satisfactory, more joyous, than to receive; to love, more important even than being loved. By loving, he has left the prison cell of aloneness and isolation which was constituted by the state of narcissism and self-centeredness. He feels a sense of new union, of sharing, of oneness. More than that, he feels the potency of producing love by loving—rather than the dependence of receiving by being loved—and for that reason having to be small, helpless, sick—or “good.” Infantile love follows the principle: “I love because I am loved.” Mature love follows the principle: “I am loved because I love.” Immature love says: “I love you because I need you.” Mature love says: “I need you because I love you.”
Closely related to the development of the capacity of love is the development of the object of love. The first months and years of the child are those where his closest attachment is to the mother. This attachment begins before the moment of birth, when mother and child are still one, although they are two. Birth changes the situation in some respects, but not as much as it would appear. The child, while now living outside of the womb, is still completely dependent on mother. But daily he becomes more independent: he learns to walk, to talk, to explore the world on his own; the relationship to mother loses some of its vital significance, and instead the relationship to father becomes more and more important.
The Art of loving
Image Α: http://www.capturedbycarrie.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/newborn-photographer.jpg