Leo Buscaglia and the Treasure of Love
Through his numerous teachings and writings, Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998) lives on in the thousands of hearts he touched during his lifetime. One of the first ways he inspired many was by the forming of his Love Class. He created this class soon after one of his students, at the University of Southern California, committed suicide in 1969.
Buscaglia shares in his book, Love, the memory he had of her; “I have never been able to forget her eyes; alert, alive, responsive, full of promise.” The despair she felt was not recognized by him or others. Questioning why she chose such an action had him realize, and decide, love should be taught. He believed since reading and writing were taught, love should also be taught. After all, it is one of the most important forces in the world.
The Love Class
Leo Buscaglia guided his love class in a purely voluntary, informal atmosphere. His desire was to learn and experience as much as his students. Together, they discovered love was one of the most neglected topics in textbooks. Society’s opinion seemed to be love was something that was just known or something that just happened. However, for some people, love appeared missing or lacking. As the class expanded, meeting on Tuesday nights, love was discovered and proven to be something which changed and grew with each person’s awareness and acceptance of it. Leo Buscaglia wrote his bestselling book, Love, based on much of the knowledge that had been learned during the lessons of the class. In the book he says, “One does not fall in or out of love. One grows in love.” Love was concluded to be a learning process.
Definition of Love
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines love as ‘a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.’ The Love Class decided not to propose a definition. They felt if they were to define it, they would diminish it. Love was felt to be constantly changing as each person learned and experienced more of it. It was limitless and therefore indefinable for them. Love is described in the Christian Bible as patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered and not keeping records of wrong. The Bible goes on to say love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never fails.
It became Leo Buscaglia’s passion and hope for everyone to experience and know this kind of unfailing love. By quoting Kierkegaard, “To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is not reparation, either in time or in eternity”, Leo Buscaglia reveals how important he believed love was. From the following words of Leo Buscaglia (found on the World of Leo Buscaglia website), it is also understood how he lived and hoped others would live also;
“It is not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be for creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personhood, bringing hope to the lost, and love to the lonely.”
Love Remains and Never Dies
One of the greatest aspects of love, as Leo Buscaglia shares, is it doesn’t matter how much any one person gives away to another; that person is always left with more. Investing in love offers a return on investment greater than anything else known. It can never disappear. Unfortunately, though, it can hide. Hidden within each person is the capacity to love. This capacity is what needs learned and developed, but, once realized it can grow beyond measure. After forming his Love Class, Leo Buscaglia set off on a mission to teach and help others to nurture their capacity of love. He believed the first step was for each person to truly love their self. Feeling a person could not give what they didn’t have, he spoke of the desire for each person to appreciate their uniqueness and the wonder within. He called the discovery of self one of the longest lasting, most enjoyable, and grandest trip of all.
Open Arms of Love
Once a person knows, understands, and loves their own true self, they can then begin to express and experience love with others. Leo Buscaglia was known for sharing his feelings. He valued life to the fullest and excitedly encouraged all to journey with him on the trip of self discovery. He was known for his open arms and welcomed all. His arms are still opened. He lives through his words and the many hearts he touched, allowing them to continue his mission.
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