Your mom tells me, Leo, that you asked her this question after telling her at length about a little boy in your class who has a lot of problems. He never has the right clothes or the right clothes: he’s always too hot, or too cold, and he’s miserable. The teacher tries to help him, but she does not always succeed. And you and your friends, who talked about him together, ended up thinking that this little boy’s parents didn’t like him. It happens, it’s true, that parents do not love their children or, in any case, that they do not love them as your parents love you. And it’s not because these parents are mean. It’s because when they were little their parents didn’t love them. Love, you know, is not like eyes or hair, you are not born with it. Love only exists in a person if it has been able to grow in him since he was little; and it cannot grow, like plants, unless a seed has been sown. The seed of love is his parents who sow it in a child, when they love him.
And then she pushes; because they continue to love him, and because he, for his part, seeing them love him, learns to love. So, the day he is grown up, and when he has children, he loves them too. Because he knows how to love. But if the plant of love has never grown in him, he cannot love them, because he does not know how to love. And then there are also parents who love their children, but who do not know that they have to take care of them. Because, as they were forced, when they were little, to fend for themselves, they think that their children will be able to do the same. But all these parents, you know, they can change, if grown-ups help them understand what they haven’t understood and change. And I hope the grown-ups at your school will help this little boy’s parents change.