Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

“I love my family, but it’s embarrassing to say it. How can I let them know I love them without saying it?”

New Era

  • Express your love for your family by doing what they appreciate.

  • Show your love in ways that “speak” to your family members: a note, service, a hug, time spent with them, and so on.

  • The more you show your love, out of love, the better your relationships will be.

True story: Two 14-year-old friends, Scott and Mark, left Scott’s house. They hopped on their bikes and started rolling down the driveway. Scott’s little sister opened the front door and called to her brother, “I love you.” Scott stopped and called back, “I love you too. See you later.”

With practice, it had become easy for Scott to tell his family he loved them. Other teens find it hard to express their love. Fortunately for them, there are plenty of ways to say “I love you” without even speaking a word.

Say It So They Can See It

One of the best ways to share your love is to do something your family member appreciates. Maybe your mom would appreciate it if you vacuumed the carpets. Maybe it would mean a lot to your dad if you helped him clean the yard. Or maybe your younger brother would love it if you played soccer with him.

Get to know—by asking or noticing—how your family members would like to receive your expressions of love. Some people like to see that they are loved. If so, maybe a gift or act of service—things they can see—would convey your love. Some people like to hear that they are loved. If so, give them a sincere compliment, tell them you love them, or remember to speak to them in a kind tone of voice. Others like to feel that they are loved. For them a hug might be best.

The idea is to show your love in a way that’s meaningful to your family members.

Say It out of Love

Even though you feel embarrassed to tell your family you love them, do it anyway—because you love them. That effort will show how much you truly care. Plus, the more you tell your family you love them, with or without words, the easier it will become and the more love you will feel for them.

Another true story: Ashley had been at college and away from home for a month. As she sat in her dorm room, feeling lonely, her roommate brought in the mail and tossed Ashley a package. In it was a hand-written note and Ashley’s favorite candy bar. The note, from Ashley’s younger sister, said, “I hope you will enjoy your present. This is a short letter, but I miss you. Love, Maria.” (See Ashley Eggers, “Love, Anonymous,” New Era, Feb. 2001, 26.)

That gift helped Ashley realize that even though she was far from home, her family loved and remembered her. It made Ashley’s day because her sister wasn’t embarrassed to express her love.

President Ezra Taft Benson

Your most important friendships should be with your own brothers and sisters and with your father and mother. Love your family. Be loyal to them. Have a genuine concern for your brothers and sisters.” —President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), “To the Youth of the Noble Birthright,” Ensign, May 1986, 43.

Readers

Sometimes just a simple “I love you” will do the job. I’ve found it’s easiest said by writing a note to a family member and leaving it somewhere they will find it. As I’ve done that I’ve noticed any tension or friction is eased, and the Spirit dwells stronger in our home. Heather Vawdrey, 17, Marysville First Ward, Marysville Washington Stake

Telling someone you love them doesn’t mean you have to say it. By caring and doing kind things for them, you can show your love. After a while, you’ll feel more comfortable speaking it instead of just showing you care. Natalie Thomas, 14, Rochester First Ward, Rochester Minnesota Stake

It was very difficult for me to tell my family I love them, even though they would say it to me. I decided I needed to fix this problem by showing them through my actions that I love them, and the words would follow. The more you serve someone, the easier it is to express your feelings and love to them. Elder Doug Atkinson, 19, Washington Everett Mission

You can show your family how much you love them by appreciating them or by doing service for them. Jesus gave service to everyone. They could feel His love through His actions. Your family knows that you love them and can tell by what you do for them and by the small hugs you give them. Rachael Guinn, 15, Del Mar Park Ward, Aurora Colorado Stake

As a new member and the only member of the Church in my family, I’m trying to tell my parents I love them, but I’m having a hard time. Now that I am a full-time missionary, the only way to tell them that I love them is by writing a letter with my testimony, saying how much I love them, thanking them with all my heart, and telling them how grateful I am to our Heavenly Father for giving me my parents. Elder Angelito C. Ong, 21, California Carlsbad Mission

You don’t have to say “I love you” to show someone that you love them. Show your family that you care for them. Help them and be kind to them. You can leave a small note on your parents’ bedside, saying simply, “I love you” and sign it. They will know that you mean it. Tamanna Kalra, 15, Goa Branch, India Bangalore Mission

You could say “I love you” every day, or before you go to bed you could hug or kiss them. If someone is having a bad day at work or school, you could leave a note on their bed. You could help your brothers and sisters with their homework or chores. You could listen to their problems. If you need more suggestions, ask your Young Men or Young Women leaders. Britanie Ames, 14, Benson Ward, St David Arizona Stake

I find it hard to express my love vocally, especially to family members. However, I love my family very much, and I express it through my actions, for example, by listening to and obeying my parents’ counsel. Small things—like praising my mother for her fine cooking or expressing appreciation when my sisters make something beautiful—are my ways of telling my family I love them. Actions speak louder than words, although loving words don’t hurt either! Keshia Lai, 17, Woodlands Ward, Singapore Singapore Stake

I have a hard time telling my four brothers I love them. So when I want my brothers to know I love them, I will usually show it, instead of saying it. I will make their beds for them, play a game with them, or stand up for them when they need it. We also have a mailbox in the house that we put notes or surprises in, telling how we love each other. I love my family a lot. Kyle Niebergall, 13, Roosevelt Eighth Ward, Roosevelt Utah West Stake

[photo] Photograph by Jerry L. Garns