The first talk of the April 2016 General Conference was Sister Cheryl A. Esplin's talk, He Asks Us to Be His Hands. In this talk, she shared a touching Primary lesson that tuaght me the importance of teaching children to love. The five- and six-year-old children were instructed to draw pictures of themselves and their loved ones, including Jesus and their families, on strips of paper that would be linked together to form "love necklaces."
One child, Heather, said that she doubted that her sister loved her and that she didn't even love herself. This saddened me. I could hardly imagine a little girl, only five or six years old, already struggling to love herself.
Before Heather's teacher could figure out what to say to comfort her, her classmate, Anna, said "Heather, I am putting you in my necklace between me and Jesus because He loves you and I love you." This so touched Heather that she immediately crawled under the table to get to Anna to give her a big hug.
This experience tells me how important it is to teach children how to love. The world is filled with so much hatred that many people even hate themselves, and that condition of self-hatred seems to be afflicting some children as well. The solution is to teach children, at an early age, the importance of loving themselves and others, and one of the ways to teach them that is to teach them about the all-encompassing love of Jesus Christ.
The fact that Jesus loves everyone is simple enough for even a child's understanding, yet it's also profound and inspiring. It reminds us that no one is unlovable and that we should love everyone, including ourselves. Sometimes, loving certain people is a challenge for us, but at those times, we can try to follow the Savior's example and see people through His eyes. The world has more than enough hatred and animosity in it already. What it needs is for more people to feel and express universal love.