GIFTS

GIFTS

Children with the love language of gifts are often viewed as materialistic. They are not really wanting the gift itself, but your love spoken through the gift. It is communicating the message, “I was thinking of you.” A Hershey’s kiss, balloon, or note on a gum wrapper has profound meaning to a person with this language. They look at your object as a token or symbol of being loved. 

Here are some creative ways to speak their language: **Make birthdays and holidays a huge deal. **Bring home small tokens from shopping trips (“I bought your favorite fruit”). **Celebrate milestones such as losing a tooth, getting good grades, overcoming a challenge. **Tuck notes in their lunch bag, under their pillow, or in their laundry. **Give them a dollar or two to spend at the store – just because. **Cook their favorite meal. **Pick out a rock or flower on your walk and return home with it. **Buy a package of Hershey kisses and intentionally play a game of spontaneously putting them where they can discover them. It took me a month to empty the bag, but she felt so loved and seen. **Keep a small stash of inexpensive gifts. When you see your child struggling, working through hurts, or just having a hard day pull something out. 

I must note that the worst thing you can do for this person is to be flippant about it. Thoughtless gift-giving is like a harsh tone for a word of affirmation person. If your heart is not in it, you might want to hold off on giving it. Oftentimes they are givers of gifts too and like to leave notes, save souvenirs from trips, parties, and outings (like the napkin from the party or an empty container from the Tic Tacs that you bought them). When they give gifts of any kind to others, help them to make the connection between their action and speaking love, such as, “I love that you want to tell your sister you love her by leaving her that note.” “Thank you for loving me by giving me that flower.” Again, the focus is not on the item/gift; it is on the heart need and communication of love. Learn to value lavishing on others as it models a side of our Father, the Creator of the universe who owns the storehouse and lavishes richly on His children. Often when people were raised with a poverty spirit or parents who had fear over finances, this language can be challenging to speak. However, God uses this language in our children to re-align our thoughts and heart back to Him. I get this every time we talk about gifts – “So that means I just have to buy them whatever they want?” Of course not! But it does mean you would be wise to see what they are really asking for. They are saying, “Will you show me you love me by buying this for me?” In those moments, the key to their heart is discovering how you can tell them “No” in a way that still fills their heart.

MIND, BODY, SPIRIT

If we are mind, body, and spirit, our parenting responses should reflect this. Not all outbursts are rooted in the same defiance. Sometimes it is because of body needs such as hunger, sickness, or tiredness. Other times it is rooted in emotional hurts (heart splinters). While other times it is a lack of character where the child needs additional training on healthier responses. How do you know which one it is? You don’t, but their Creator does. Ask Him! “Jesus, will You please show me what is going on with my child right now?” “Jesus, what do they need?” I have scores of testimonies of parents who were at their wit’s end with their child’s behavior, and ‘nothing was working’ until they asked Him and what He revealed was the KEY to their heart.

HELPING KIDS LOVE

I often buy fun treats or trinket toys and give them to one of my children to give to their siblings, adding their own ‘creative flair’ to communicate love. For example, my oldest made some lovely notes for her siblings and put some sweet treats on their beds for them to come home to after school. I believe that by assisting them with ideas that communicate love to one another, they are strengthening their sibling relationships and learning how to communicate love to their friends, future spouse, and their children someday. I want them to be people who know how to love well!

DON’T/DO

This is a great way to teach and train young children. When you need to instruct/correct them, instead of staying where you are and calling out to them, STOP what you are doing, go to them, and get down on their level. Place your hands out and tell them to put their hands on yours. You are not forcing them, grabbing their hands, or controlling them. You are giving them the command (as many times as it takes) to put their hands on yours. Then you instruct them to look into your eyes. If they remove their hands or lose eye contact, in a gentle but firm voice, instruct them to put their hands/eyes back on you. When they have achieved that, you give them your short command of what you want. “Mommy wants you to come to the table,” “Mommy wants you to put your clothes away,” “Mommy wants you to pick up your toy.” It is important that they follow up with a “Yes/Okay, Mom.” The purpose for that is when kids come into agreement by verbally saying “Yes/Okay,” something happens in their brain where they accept ownership. The key to using this tool is to speak to them in a gentle but firm way. It does not work well when the parent is angry or controlling, nor does it work well when the parent caves if the child does not respond right away. Few people enjoy being disrespected, and it can feel very frustrating when children ignore us. If, as the parent, you feel frustrated at their lack of listening, I encourage you all the more to go after this. Good character does not come with age; it comes with intentional parenting. Stay in the game and help your child overcome their weakness. Give them tools to grow in their capacity. This requires extra effort from you upfront, but you will reap the JOY of a child who responds to your voice.

SPEAK UP

Of all the languages in the world, the most confusing is silence. Silence shouldn’t be a language we are communicating to our children as it opens them up to the enemy to fill in the blanks for them (and he will, it just won’t be something that brings life). Make it a point TODAY to intentionally tell your child how you feel about them!

LANGUAGE OF LOVE

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.

ACTS OF SERVICE

A mom mentioned: When I read about children with the language of acts of service wanting you to help them, I thought of my daughter. An example would be me fixing her hair. Sometimes I don’t have time to help her and ask her to do it herself, and she does get upset actually.”

My response: I know you love her and show it through providing breakfast, clean clothes, and getting her to school, but can you increase doing it in a way that she values and understands? What if sending her to school with her hair done by you filled her tank in a way that empowered and helped her throughout the day to feel safe and secure? Would you want to do it then? She is giving you the keys to her heart. The amazing thing about children is that their hearts are small and fill so fast. A five-minute hair session can literally change her day! How can you create the time to communicate love to her? Can you wake up five minutes earlier? Can you braid it the night before? When you honestly cannot do it, how then can you communicate that you still love her without being able to do her hair?

Let’s slow this down for a moment. A child is asking for help because that is how their tank gets filled, and the parent to whom they are offering their heart begins to get upset and frustrated with them for not doing it themselves. They now walk away with a tank even lower than when they first asked. I KNOW this is not the goal of many parents, but this is what happens when we fail to understand *their* language. We have miscommunication and a breakdown of deposits in their heart. Hear the difference: “No, I already taught you how to tie your shoes. You be a big boy and do it by yourself. Stop fussing and get it done now. No, I will not help you. You are going to make me late. Hurry up,” VS. “Oh, buddy. I love that you want me to help you, and my heart really wants to, but I cannot right now. I need you to tie your shoes. I am so proud of you for the way you have mastered tying your shoes.” Can you hear the difference? One sees the heart and affirms them, while the other only sees the task. It isn’t a yes/no, you do it/I do it response. It is seeing their heart and making sure you are communicating and affirming your love for them.

HAND IT BACK TO HIM

Your body isn’t designed to carry the weight. For those of us in Redding enduring the crisis of the Carr Fire, we are divided into two camps – those who are givers and those who are receivers. Many are dealing with unimaginable loss. For those who haven’t lost their homes or loved ones, we are givers of our time, resources, energy, ministry, and helping hands. We are listening to the stories one by one, over and over, of the trauma, heartbreak, and tears. God never designed our bodies to hold onto the weight of other people’s pain. It can become extremely unhealthy if we are carrying the weight of their stories and not following through with giving them back to Him. I am hearing over and over that people who lost nothing are feeling stressed, depressed and lethargic. Yet, these are the ones who are walking side by side with those who are in pain.

One friend broke out in hives so bad she went to Urgent Care. When the second bout came, I knew she was holding onto emotions that needed to be released. I encouraged her to get the kids situated and go in her room alone with Jesus and process her heart, the pain of the stories, the fear, and deep sadness. She wept! And the hives left. God wants us to walk in compassion for those suffering, but He does not want us to carry it. Out of love and compassion, He wants us to put those burdens back on Him. When I walk or talk with someone who has endured something difficult, I have two choices. I can carry their pain as if it happened to me, or I can cry with them but remain true to my reality (the loss didn’t happen to me) and take their stories to the throne and intercede for them out of compassion. If you are in the role of being the giver to someone who is walking through challenging situations, your strength is found in putting the weight and needs back on the only One who is designed to carry our burdens.

SHIFTING YOUR FOCUS

Learning to shift my focus is what really helps me in times of earthly stress. Say it is a money issue. I do not focus on the need for money to come in (which would seem the proper response). Instead, I focus on His goodness as my Husband. When I need something, my eyes and faith aren’t on the end result, but on HIM. Instead of praying, “Jesus, I need x-amount of money by Thursday. Please send the money.” I focus on, pray, and declare, “God, YOU alone are MY Provider.” See the difference? One keeps our eyes on the lack/need, while the other keeps our eyes on Him. The latter is the place of FAITH and REST. God whispered to me years ago to “enroll them” (meaning my kids at a Christian school in CA). That is all He said. Nine months of fear and doubt followed. Worry was on one side, and God’s gentle whisper on the other – I had to choose which one I was going to partner with. After I sold our house in Colorado, said my goodbyes, and drove four children across the country, the school called to say there wasn’t any room for them and asked what my plan B was. At that moment, my entire world could have crashed. I thought about the question and realized there was NO plan B because I wasn’t striving to make plans happen. I only had what God told me. My eyes weren’t on them getting into the school or not; my eyes were on GOD’S GOODNESS. He told me what to do, I did it, and whatever He had for us would be good because He is a good Father, Husband, and Provider. A week later, the school called back to say there was room for the children. Of course, there was; God told me to enroll them. Do we have a plan B when circumstances squeeze us? Either God is good, or He isn’t. Either He is our Provider, or He isn’t. Either He is love, or He isn’t. We can’t pick and choose when we want to take Him off the shelf and when we want to put Him back on it.

DISOBEDIENCE

Your child is not being disobedient to resist the things in you that are not Kingdom. What do I mean? So many times, parents come to me out of pure frustration over a child who is rebelling, angry or defiant. But once we explore the situation deeper with Holy Spirit, we discover that the parent is partnering with fear, control, or woundedness, and the child is simply reacting to what is out of alignment and will not follow that path. That is ultimately a good thing, as God parents us through our children. Not all conflict in the home is the child’s fault. Sometimes it is God allowing us to see what is in our hearts that need to be aligned. Your child is not being disobedient to resist the things in you that are not Kingdom – that’s called God’s redemption!