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!
LOVE LANGUAGES MATTER
If you have followed Let the Children Fly for long, you know that I am a big promoter of knowing and filling your child’s love tank. How many adults walk around with unmet needs waiting for someone to fill them? It is a lonely and isolating experience. The sad thing is few people can read your mind to know what you need. I have been very diligent in not only teaching my children about their love language but how to discern when they are feeling low, isolated, or disconnected and how to get their needs met in a HEALTHY, proactive way. Typically when their tanks are low, there is an increase of bickering, conflict, bad moods, agitation, and strife. While I went after character training, I also helped them to be PROACTIVE with their needs so that it doesn’t get to that point. Hudson came to me one morning and said, “Hey Mom, I set up a game of cards for us.” Truth be told, the timing wasn’t great, as I had a lot to do, but I had eyes to see that my son could have cared less about cards and was really saying, “Hey Mom, my love tank is low, and I want you to fill it before I go to school.” Yep! I can make time for you, son.
What would our school look like if each child came to school not only with a full belly but their love tank overflowing? What would it look like if we were able to help our children process the hurts and offenses so that healthy connections remained among peers on the playground? What if their character was the key that opened doors to greater favor and opportunities? You have a responsibility to teach and train your children at home so that they can be as successful as possible in the classroom.
Once you know a child’s love language, you learn how to fill their hearts easily. I could spend my last dollar on a child, but if their love language is quality time, it won’t hit their heart as much as the child with the love language of gifts. I could spend every waking moment with a child, but if their love language is words of affirmation, they will still feel empty/low after spending all that time together. I could smear my child with endless praises, kisses, and words, but if their love language is acts of service, they will wonder why I don’t love them enough to help them. If you want to hit a bullseye into their heart, LEARN your child’s love language and go after it daily.
A mom shared: “My husband was verbally praising one of our daughters. Just moments later, she was in an angry outburst toward one of her siblings. When we asked her what was going on inside her after we had just spent the time telling her how wonderful she was, she responded, ‘Words of affirmation is my lowest love language. You guys saying all that great stuff about me didn’t do anything for me.’ Yikes! But she was right and honest. It was a big wake-up call.”
Lisa’s response: May I add to that? Intentionally filling her up with a different language triggered her because it reminded her that *her* language was not being spoken. It is like you are craving chocolate, and someone gives you a fish. Fish is good for you, but it triggers your longing for chocolate. While words of affirmation is always a good thing, because her tank was low, it actually had a negative effect. I think that is what was behind her anger at that moment. Love that she was able to articulate it so well and that you could hear her heart. Go for her language to get a bulls-eye into her heart.
What happens when the tanks run low? While everyone will experience an ebb and flow with their love tank when a person, especially a child, runs on a low love tank as the norm, it can open them up to greater issues and wreak havoc on the growth of their mind, body, and spirit. A low tank makes them susceptible to the following: Isolation – physical, mental, or emotional; Negative words that stick; Unhealthy choices; Orphan behavior – begging and striving; Acting out (negative attention is better than none at all); Aggression; Anger; Building walls to protect their heart; Disconnection; Miss the healthy training ground with siblings; Feeling unsafe; Taught to conform to someone else’s expectations.
When the tanks are filled on a regular basis, it creates an environment where: They are safe and protected; Can try new things without the fear of failure; Negative words roll off their back; Are free to be careful and joyful (a child’s nature); They are seen and heard; Trust you; It is safe to be themselves; Deep sense of belonging; Have the courage to do brave things; Increase the will to overcome and endure.
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. May your parenting be defined by what matters the most – L-O-V-E!
Parents – you have homework! Love is a VERB. Grab some paper and begin to write notes to your child. So tuck them in their underwear drawer, by their toothbrush, in their favorite book. Let them find your nuggets of love!!!! You can do it for your children or have them do it for each other.
Testimony from a mom taking our online Kingdom parenting class: “Parenting with the Father works. I’ve spent 5-10 mins extra in the morning connecting with my three-year-old son to fill his love tank. Our transition to daycare in the morning has been seamless. He struggled with that transition in the past and would scream, cry, and cling to us as we tried to leave. Now he gives us a hug and a kiss goodbye and is excited to play with his friends.”
Morning School routine for a child: Get dressed – Eat breakfast – Chores – Brush teeth.
Morning School routine for a parent: Fill their love tank – Create pockets of JOY – Remind them of who they are – Fight for peace.
Before you send your child out into the world, arm them with: A belly full of healthy food – A mind anchored in the truth – A heart tank overflowing with love.
The other day Ellie came to me and said, “I know I am loved, but I am just not feeling it today.” The following day I felt led to lavish on her through her language of love. She thanked me, and I told her, “I did not do that to love you. I did it to REMIND you that you are already loved.” As a busy parent, it is easy to feel pressure with the love languages as if it means our children are not loved or are lacking something essential if we don’t fill their tanks daily. The truth is they are ALREADY loved, and speaking their language stirs up what is already there. Take the pressure off yourself of ‘having to’ give your child what they need and view the love languages as a privilege to stir up, call forth and remind them of what was theirs all along.
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!!