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John Eggers column: Does the world need love in 2017?

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” Burt Bacharach’s 1965 hit song is still played and sung today. Jackie DeShannon originally recorded it but most of us remember it being sung by Dionne Warwick. The title has become such an overused cliche that I’m not sure the lyrics still carry much significance, but they could and they should.

Picture this. Many of the world’s great leaders come together to sing the song and actually go on tour. Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth II, Benjamin Netanyahu, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Kim Jong-un, and others are all standing side-by-side singing “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” Their choir leader is President Obama. Can you picture it? Now wouldn’t that make quite an impression on the world? Leo Buscaglia would be proud.

Remember Leo Buscaglia? He was known as "Dr. Love" and was a professor at the University of Southern California in the 1960s and into the 1980s. He passed away in 1998. His non-credit class on “Love” was standing-room only on campus. You can still listen to his inspiring messages about “Love” on You Tube. Many of his lectures were used as fundraisers for PBS. He also wrote some best-selling books.

A few of his most popular quotes on love are:

      “Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.”

      “Love is always bestowed as a gift - freely, willingly and without expectation.”

      “We don't love to be loved; we love to love.”

      “Love is always open arms. If you close your arms about love you will find that you are left holding only yourself.”

      “I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate - it's apathy.”

Love means different things to different people. One thing we can all agree on is that love means caring about someone else more than you care about yourself. As Leo would say, “We love to love.”

Here’s a love trivia question for you. What was the song sung in “The Lady and The Tramp” Disney movie where Lady and Tramp are eating together during their first night out? Remember the scene? Under a moonlit night, two Italian chefs serenaded them by playing the song. Here is one of the verses:

“Side by side with your loved one

You'll find enchantment here

The night will weave its magic spell

When the one you love is near.”

The song is “Belle Notte (Beautiful night).” How do I know that? This summer I purchased a snow globe music box with Lady and Tramp on the inside. The song played on the music box is Belle Notte. I play it every now and then before I go to bed. It’s a beautiful romantic song. It reminds me of those days when Kathy and I first dated. Every night was a Belle Notte.

Here’s a thought. What if we would teach a course about love in our high schools and colleges and all students were required to take it? Personally, I think education is becoming too business like. Many teachers would agree. It’s becoming too high stakes, too non-personal. We’ve taken the romance out of education. I think Leo Buscaglia would be disappointed in what education has become in this era of testing.

If we were to teach a course on “love” again, we would have to show several of the best love story movies ever made. What are your favorite romantic movies? Here are a few of my favorites: “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “It Happened One Night,” “The Graduate,” “Love Story,” “West Side Story,” “The Apartment,” “Titanic,” “Moonstruck,” “Bridges of Madison County” and “Annie Hall.” Let’s not forget “Rocky” and “Same Time Next Year.”

Students would love the class because young people appreciate love. Maybe we could prevent a few divorces and sexual assaults when kids learned the true meaning of love.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. Yes, we do. Get ready for the world leader choir to appear in a city near you. I wish you many Belle Nottes in 2017.

Riddle of the day: What did one light bulb say to the other? (I love you a whole watt.)

You don’t need a light bulb to have a beautiful night. Just let your love shine forth.