The moments that your words are preaching to yourself and not your children.
“You need to realize that living in this home is like living in a town.”
“There are so many people, so many personalities, so many needs, as well as individual strengths and weaknesses.”
“We all must learn to work with one another, rather than against one another.”
She was staring at me with a sly grin.
“Mom. A town? Really?”
I was serious. This house runs like it’s own small city, and in moments of stress or collisions of interest, I remind my family that love beats all conflict at every corner. We just need to know HOW to love one another.
And if you were to stop in for a cup of tea and some cookies baked almost every other day, you would probably say the very same thing that almost every person that spends any time in this small village.
Every single one of your children are so different. How do love each of them and love them well?
In a home like this, our aim is not to raise a stamp of our likeness, our interests and the personalities that fit us best.
We do not want to raise a robot, cookie cutter child, whose only aim when they grow up is to please their parents and to live under the pressure of meeting the standards of love that a parent might expect.
I recently heard another mother speak to her daughter in a moment of pain and bitter roots, that her daughter never told her that she loved her. The mother repeating this a few times, and the grown daughter clueless as to why that mother would use these words as an arrow, rather than a bridge.
Finding your children’s strengths and love language is like mining for gold. And while you are panning and sifting to find their gifts, talents, and help them grow, you discover the way to their heart.
Our hearts all speak a language.
Often when children are asked why they love their mom’s or how they know their mom’s love them, their answer will key you into their language of love!
“I love my mom because she hugs me.”
“I love my mom because she takes me to bball practice.”
“I know my mom loves me because she tells me.”
Can you hear the Language of Love in each of the above responses?
There are five love languages defined by these terms:
1. Physical Touch and Closeness – Physical touch often speaks louder than words
You know. The child that would let you hold them all day. Or asks you to hold them all day. They love it when you rub their forehead, their back, or hold their hand on every walk, into the grocery store and while you are working on their school work. This child smiles at you when you are sitting close to them at the table, or their hugs mean more to them and to you then a bowl of ice cream. Yep. More than words can even say.
2. Words of Encouragement or Affirmation – And in reverse, the impact negative harsh and cutting words will have on this child are to be considered.
The child that will light up like a sun beam when told that their cursive is awesome, that their bed was made the best, or that they will do great at the play auditions. The child that needs to know you love him with your words and not your time, your touch or your gifts. None of those things will mean the smallest thing to a child that is yearning for your words of encouragement, gratitude and positive conversation.
3. Quality Time – Focused Attention
Time spent together doing any thing will define this child. It could be sitting on the couch in a conversation, in the same room as the family, even if everyone is doing something different. As long as you are together. Making eye contact with them, and making an effort to give them time. Your time. Washing dishes together, going for a walk, family game night or reading them a book. All a means of time spent together that isn’t for the sake of fitting it in. Focusing.
4. Gift Giving – Generosity giving and loving to receive the simplest of gifts will define this child.
The child that would give you his favorite stuffed animal, or the teen that would give his last $50 and a whole rotisserie chicken to the guy on the corner with a sign in his hand. The child that buys gifts for every single person in the home and stretches their dollars to make it work. And the reaction of love when you give them a simple gesture of a gift will blow you away. It is not one of reference or pickiness. It could be a note in the mail, a stick of gum or a special drink from the store. Gift giver’s are easy to spot. And they are generous and appreciative.
5. Acts of Service
We all know that acts of service can be emotionally and physically exhausting. A word of caution with this love language – Be careful not to use this as a way to manipulate your children. Beginning with helping and doing things that they cannot do for themselves. Moving into creating an independent person, showing them how to serve others or when they need help. Not forcing extreme independence on them.
This child will run errands for you, be the first to step into a needed role, and volunteer for the smallest details that you may not want to ask for help with. They are generous with their time to serve others and usually do so with a joyful spirit. They will love to serve with you. And this is the best opportunity to show them Christ’s love in action. They are the next world changers – the feet and hands.
Maybe we are missing the love that our children show to us. When they are yelling, “I love you,” and we are upset that they are not getting it.
Our children need us to know we are FOR them and not just striving with them to meet our own peace and happiness.
Our homes can be a different place when you go straight to the heart of the way God created us.
Years ago, I realized that the child who doesn’t get over excited about the special gift we planned and prepared for them, is not unappreciative or ungrateful. They were so thankful, so happy, but not as over excited as I might have been, given a gift like that.
Their love language is definitely not gift giving.
And the child that cries when we miss a family dinner or has a hard time saying goodbye to family members? They are such quality time children.
To make a small town run smoothly, we need to learn the language of love.
The world was created to be understood and the Lord gave us the ability to grow in love and wisdom.
Learn your child’s love language, before they stop listening to you tell them that they don’t love you.
And when there is a conflict? Speak to them. In love. The way that they hear you.
It’s there. You may have to mine for it.
Like striking gold. Richer love than you could imagine.