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Loving Our Children

February 27, 2013
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“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children…”  Titus 2:3-4

We’ve been focusing on love all month long.  Can you feel it?  First we wrote about stirring up the romantic flames in your home.  And then we challenged you to show yourself a little love and tenderness.  Now we’d just like to encourage you to sow a little extra love into your children.  Would seem like a no-brainer, right?  Of course we love our children!  Of course they know it!  Right?  I mean, they are fed and clothed and carpooled all over the place.  Yet, we must remember that sometimes our children speak a different language.  As we always say here at The Provision Room, it’s all about being intentional.  Sometimes taking a step back and doing an intentional act of extra love and affection can go a long way in the souls of our children.

We’ll break up our suggestions in five categories, according to the Five Love Languages.  How we give and receive love is sometimes different.  So it’s worth it to make sure we are speaking our children’s language!

WORDS OF AFFIRMATION

This language uses words to affirm other people.

IMG_0387

  • At dinner go around the table and speak words of encouragement to each person.  Let every person receive and every person give words of encouragement.  Have a little theme such as, “Let’s tell each person one great thing they did today!” or “Let’s all say one thing we love about your brother!”  How about “What character quality do you think best describes your sister?”  Let each person shower love and encouragement.  Wait until you see their beaming faces!  
  • Make place cards for the table.  Yeah, of course everyone knows where to sit.  But, it would be extra fun if on each place card you put a little blessing for each child.  Nancy Campbell encouraged us recently at a conference to compose a little couplet for each child and write it on their place card.  Of course we chuckled a little thinking, “Who has time to compose couplets?!”  Then we thought, well, Mrs. Campbell has a large family and a huge ministry.  If she can find time for these extra touches of love, certainly we can, too!
  • Praise your children in front of your friends.  So often we find ourselves complaining about our children to our friends.  “Today was a rough day with the kids,” “He just won’t obey,” “She’s so moody lately,” etc.  Let’s change our default settings to blessings!  Talk about how responsible, helpful, kind, creative, and spirited your child is!
  • We play a little game in our house: I Love You More Than.  It goes like this: I say, “Captain!  I love you more than pizza!”  He replies, “I love you more than ice cream!”  I say, “I love you more than chocolate!”  He says, “I love you more than lasagna.” And on and on and on.

ACTS OF SERVICE

For these people, actions speak louder than words.

My grandmother washing our dishes!

My grandmother washing our dishes!

  • Our job is to train our children to be responsible and diligent adults.  We know this.  But, what about modeling for them going the extra mile just because?  So, what about doing one of their chores for them?  Perhaps you could do their laundry, clean their room or walk their dog.  JUST BECAUSE!  No strings attached and no guilt-trips to follow.  No passive aggressiveness, “Well, you didn’t get to it, so I had to.”  NOPE!  Just for LOVE!!!!
  • Could your child use a day off from school?  Why not give her the day to just do whatever she wants and whatever makes her soul happy?!  I know as a busy grown-up with a full-plate sometimes I need a day to just unwind–to read a book or sleep-in or spend a day with girlfriends.  Our kids sometimes could use a day like that, too, especially in those pre-teen and teen years.  They are busy and overwhelmed at times.  Giving them a little space to refresh themselves can speak volumes.

RECEIVING GIFTS

For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.

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  • Do you fall into the “fairness” trap?  You know, if you buy this child a treat, you have to buy every child a treat?  And that can be overwhelming, so instead no one gets a treat.  Hey!  I have seven children!  I know the trap!  But, here’s the thing: life isn’t always “fair” by our understanding of fairness.  Sometimes God has a an extra special blessing for one of his children.  It’s OK to teach this to our children.  If I happen to see a little something at the store that I think my 10-year old son would love, I may decide to get it for him.  The kids who don’t get something on this particular day get to practice Romans 12:15: Rejoice with those who rejoice.  We all need to learn to be genuinely happy when someone else is blessed, trusting that the Lord (and our parents) will not forget us in the future.  The next time I’m at the store, I may find a little something for my 11-year old daughter. And so it’ll be her turn to be blessed.
  • Do you give a little gift to your children on holidays other than Christmas and their birthdays?  These gifts needn’t be extravagant or expensive.  Sometimes something like a new pencil, lip balm, sketch book, or favorite candy can mean so much.  We try to gift little things (and they are often truly very little and often handmade) to our kids on Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, the first day of school, the first day of summer, Epiphany, Fat Tuesday, etc.

QUALITY TIME

This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.

Riding the ferry across to Balboa Island.

Riding the ferry across to Balboa Island.

  • Children love to spend time with their parents.  For most kids love is spelled T.I.M.E.  And not just time doing their homework with them, being driven to music lessons or doing chores together.  But, intentional relationship building time.  In fact, as I’m writing this, my 9-year old son walked through the room and said, “Mom, you know what my favorite day is? It’s Sunday!  Because we get lots of family time.”  Be intentional about family time.  How about a game night?  Ban all electronic media: turn off the cell phones, ipads, TV and computers.  And play Clue, Uno, Pictionary.
  • Each of my kids have a special thing they love to do with me.  One son loves to make steamed milk (sprinkled with cardamon) and bring a classic book to my bed.  We snuggle together and read Gulliver’s Travels, Men of Iron, The Scarlet Pimpernel.  My oldest daughter and I watch The Biggest Loser together.  We place bets on who will be voted off.  And the loser makes a snack for the winner.  Another son loves to take walks together with no particular destination.  These things speak love to the children.

PHYSICAL TOUCH

To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.

Mom and Luc 2

  • Make time to snuggle with your kids–even the “old” ones.  We are quite used to snuggling our toddlers.  But our older children often need snuggles, too.  
  • When your child comes to you for a hug, take a moment and really hug them back.  You don’t break the hug!  Let them let go first!  See how they like that!
  • Let the kids wrestle…with Dad!  There are times we wrestle with the children, but as they get older that’s increasingly Dad’s role!  It may be difficult for you to believe how putting each other in a headlock or kickboxing each other can be translated as love, but I assure you for a kid–or even a teenager–it certainly works that way.  Don’t outlaw horseplay at your house.  Just move the breakables and let them have at it!
  • Make up a “secret handshake” with each kid.  Let it be unique for each child–their special way to communicate with you!  It’ll make them feel that you are on the same team!

Take a little time to think through each of your children and their love languages. Perhaps make some notes in your journal about ways you can communicate that extra special love.  What you sow in love, you will reap!

So, tell us, what creative ways have you expressed love and affection to your children at all their different stages and ages?

(Linked to A Wise Woman Link-UpThe Creative HomeAcre Bloghop and Simply Natural Saturdays!)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. swee* permalink
    March 4, 2013 1:52 pm

    I love YOU, Swee.

  2. March 9, 2013 10:03 am

    Great advice! Thanks for sharing your talent on The Creative HomeAcre Hop!
    Our next party goes live Sunday morning at:
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/03/the-creative-homeacre-hop-6.html

    If you have a blog hop, please check out The Linky Love Party…a place to share your parties with other bloggers! Grab the button for an easy way to search for parties every week!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/03/lets-party.html

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