When children have the love language of acts of service and are told, “No, you can do it yourself,” it hurts their heart. They know their hands can do it alone, but their heart wants you to do it with them. This can be quite annoying for a parent who has intentionally taught their child to be independent and self-sufficient. Yes, we want our children to take responsibility for their world and manage themselves well. No, we do not want to coddle them, stifle their growth, or baby them forever. But we do want to hear their heart cry to be loved, and these children hear it loudest when you do things that they are capable of doing on their own together. Do you have one of these kids? Has this happened to you?
ACTS OF SERVICE
I have a great teaching tool with magnets for parents to teach children about the pull of connection in our hearts. I was so excited when I received this testimony from a mom taking our class. Kids understand this language!
“For the last two days, my son has shown me how magnets attract one another… I had not done this demonstration of attraction with him yet. Thank You, Father, for opening a door for sharing that beautiful lesson. A little later in the day, my son told me I was pushing him away like a magnet. Boom! Yes, son, I was. I’m sorry. Here is what you were needing. The way you were asking for it pushed me away. Let’s flip our magnets and connect again.”
Do you love your child? I realize that is a silly question to ask a mom, but if you were to ask children many would report they don’t feel like they are loved. Love is what we feel for them, but we have to be empowered in how to get that love OUT of our hearts and into THEIRS.
Go to The Love Language™ Quiz (5lovelanguages.com) with your child and have them complete the online Love Language quiz for children over the age of five (under five needs all of the languages spoken). Print out their results and spend time connecting by coming up with a list of 15 ways you can speak love in their language. This is important because if you don’t know what love looks like, you can spend years pouring your heart out, but to them, it sounds like a foreign language, and they don’t understand it. Speaking it the way they *need* it spoken is like getting a bullseye right into their heart. Do not get overwhelmed by this as a ‘one more thing I have to do.’ Chances are you are already doing many things to show your love for them. Wouldn’t you rather invest your energy where it was actually being deposited rather than unaccounted for? Also, many of you are dealing with issues with your children that are draining you greatly (attitudes, walls, anger, disrespect, poor grades, lack of attention, etc.) and nothing shifts circumstances more than going after their heart (above circumstances and behavior) and filling them with love. The Word says if you have everything, but have no love, you have nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2). This tells us love has to be a foundation above everything else.
The challenging thing about a child’s heart is that they are small and EMPTY quick, but the good things about a child’s heart are that they are small and FILL fast. Children often come home from school with lowered love tanks and not only need a snack to nourish their bellies but love to fill their heart tank. This will improve the way they interact with their siblings, respond to you, as well as, how they perform in school. Like watering a wilted plant, they come to life no matter what they have been through when watered with love in a language they can understand. The difference between a wound and a hurt is how much love they received in the midst of their circumstances. Your love as their mom is the greatest balm you smear on anything that happens to them, but you have to know what that balm looks like to them. Set a reminder in your phone to go off daily as a reminder to fill their heart’s love tank. This is one investment you can’t afford to neglect in your child’s life. Love is essential to thriving!
Whip up a batch of cookies as an after-school snack and sit with them, talking about their day for an extended period of time. Go deeper than the “How was your day?” You are giving them the gift of being seen and heard.
Get moving – nothing stirs up our natural endorphins like exercise. Pick them up from school, play some family basketball, kick the ball around, or play tag. Join the fun and play with them. You are giving them the gift of play which is critical for a child’s brain.
Joy – Find a pocket of joy today (simply doing something that ignites great joy). Jump on the bed, dance in the rain, have a wrestling match or tickle attack, or cook together. Joy increases the chemical in the brain to endure hard things. You are giving them the gift of hope.
Speak truth over them – remind them of who they are. Call out their identity. “You are my favorite,” “You are passionately loved and fiercely wanted,” “You are unique and special,” “You bring me joy.” You are giving them the gift of being valued.
Which one will you do today (for their heart and yours)?
We polled educators around the globe and asked: “Outside of academics, what do the kids in your classroom need the most?” The number one response was, “For children to have their love tanks filled.”
Children who come to school with low love tanks spend their time in the classroom looking for love. Children who come to school with their love tanks filled spend their time in the classroom learning. We are sending our children out into the world where they will encounter a wide variety of situations. They are growing and learning spiritually, mentally, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and physically at a rapid rate. Sending them out with a heart tank full of love helps them process, weather, endure, overcome and succeed far greater than the child who is on empty. The more they experience love at home, the more they will be able to handle what comes their way.
Homework – Go to The Love Language™ Quiz (5lovelanguages.com) and have YOUR CHILD take the quiz. Print them out and talk about them as a family (even Mom and Dad’s language). At the end of the quiz, there is an option to sign up for the weekly email, which is a short and sweet list of creative ways to speak love each week. In the days ahead, I encourage you to be super intentional about speaking their language every morning, as well as each night. Sandwiching their day in love is so important because they will encounter things each day that drain the tank. I realize schedules are busy, and it seems impossible at times to add yet one more thing to the to-do list, but I would like to encourage you that communicating love should be the first thing on the list, not the last. Loving someone should not be a burden or overwhelming. When you learn how to speak their language fluently, it is like hitting a bull’s eye right into their heart. We owe it to our children and teachers to do our part in giving them what they need each day to succeed in school. Be intentional. Fill the tank. Reap the results!!
The Word says if you have EVERYTHING (money, fame, status, awards, a big house, a perfect-looking family, IG followers, Pinterest-worthy snacks, A+ students, fancy cars, leadership titles, etc.), but have no love, you have NOTHING! Love matters because God designed our heart, mind, and soul to need it. I have seen the messiest of situations, exasperated parents, and the most challenging children MELT with the ointment of love.
This mom says it best (taken from our online Kingdom parenting JOURNEY class):
“I’d love for my kids to feel so loved and accepted at home that they won’t look for their ‘fix’ anywhere else. I’d love for my kids to feel so secure in our love for them that they would be vulnerable with us. To speak their love language is indeed a worthy pursuit!”
My goodness, there is a lot going on in the spiritual realm. Can anyone else feel it? Trust me, if you feel it, so do your children. Here are some practical ways to increase the joy & peace in your homes TODAY! First, fill those love tanks (you have to know their language before speaking it, so make sure they have taken the online quiz).
Sibling connection is important, yet without tools, language, or empowerment to create a peaceful environment, sibling conflict can be a great source of chaos in many homes.
When all my children entered formal school for the first time, it was a huge deal for them. They got inundated with many new things all at once. My goal for the two weeks leading up to it was simply focusing on their love tanks. The more they experience love at home, the more they will be able to handle what comes their way. Isn’t that true for you? Are you a better parent on the days when you and your spouse have conflict and are feeling detached? I bet not. Love languages matter!