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Family Talk: True love must be sincere

In elementary school, you probably were required to give a valentine to everyone in class. Now, you can be more selective with matters of the heart. [METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION PHOTO]
In elementary school, you probably were required to give a valentine to everyone in class. Now, you can be more selective with matters of the heart. [METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION PHOTO]

In my elementary school, there was a rule about bringing Valentine’s Day cards to your classroom. You had to bring one for everyone, or you couldn’t bring them at all. The goal was equity, but it was awkward. Most of us knew the kids who didn’t like us, so getting a mandatory heart from those kids didn’t mean much. We knew the Valentine card was prompted by the rule, not affection.

But looking back, I see the elementary school rule contained a lesson: Love shouldn’t be faked. It’s true we sometimes must act better than we feel, and be kind toward those we don’t like. But expressing affection by mandate is not love, it’s coercion. True love must be “sincere.”

The origin of the word “sincere” comes from two Latin words. “Sine” meaning “without” and “Cera” translated as “wax.” Something is sincere if it is “without wax.” During the Roman Empire, unscrupulous bricklayers would mix less expensive wax into their more expensive cement, creating cheaper but unreliable bricks. When the bricks became warm in the sun, the wax melted, causing buildings to shift and sometimes fall. But if bricks carried the stamp “sine cera,” you could count on your house staying together.

I hope however you choose to spend Valentine’s Day, that it is sine cera. I pray you will be sincere in your expressions of affection and that your words and deeds align. You could decide to sincerely connect not only with your sweetheart, but also with those you love but see less frequently. Write a card. Make a call. Compose an email or text. Send flowers to the living. Combine action with affection. And be sine cera.

Jim Priest is CEO of Sunbeam Family Services and can be reached at jpriest@sunbeamfamilyservices.org.

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<strong>Jim Priest</strong>

Jim Priest

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Jim Priest

Jim Priest is the CEO of Sunbeam Family Services, a 108-year-old nonprofit that provides a range of social services to support Oklahoma's most vulnerable people, including early childhood education, counseling, foster care and senior services. Jim... Read more ›

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