Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Much More Than a $1 Purchase

So I've been reminded lately about a great book I've read a couple times, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The radio station I listen to highlighted this book last week and it got me thinking. I've read the book and I've taken the test and I know my love language. But, do I know my husband's primary love language? And what about my children? I don't. I've thought about it occasionally. So, what did I do? Well, of course I insisted my husband get online and take the 10 minute survey as soon as he came home from work. It was, after all, very important to me. He was somewhat surprised at his results. I was delighted to finally have a solid answer. My husband is a "Physical Touch" kind of guy.....SHOCKER! Okay, not really. He's quite the groper so I kind of figured.

What about my kids? I really want to know how to love them best. I've been praying and studying their behaviors trying to figure this out. My oldest son Jaden is 6 and I've always thought he was somewhere between Words of Affirmation and Quality Time. By the way, the other two are Gifts and Acts of Service. I previously mentioned Physical Touch. So, Jaden is a very talkative, social, story-telling little guy (and I have no idea where he got any of that from). He really likes doing any kind of project with his Dad and he talks almost nonstop whenever he is in a good mood. Well, the other night I got a confirmation that both mean a whole lot to him.

Jaden had retrieved $1 from his piggy bank and decided he was going to go buy a truck with it. Of course, in Jaden's world that meant that very day after he got home from school I'd take him. Normally I would probably hesitate or reason with Jaden that we have too many other things to do so it would have to wait until the weekend. I have 3 other children younger than Jaden and we're on a fairly tight schedule in the afternoon and evening. But, I texted my husband to park in the street after work so Jaden and I could go to the store. Boy was he excited about this $1 purchase he was going to make! He explained to me the entire way to the store how he would lay his money on the counter and what he'd say to the cashier. He was really cute about the whole experience. From start to finish I enjoyed being with him and watching him. He was so proud of himself! Then, on the way from that store to another store for a small errand he talked nonstop about that experience and anything else that came across his mind. And, while it is usually difficult to hear from the front of the van to the back where he and his brother sit, Jaden has no problem speaking loudly. He tends to have volume control issues, in fact! For the first few weeks of kindergarten he was sent in the hall at the end of lunch because he wouldn't stop talking when the lights went off. He's since learned.

So, into the next store Jaden and I walked and out of nowhere he says to me, "So when you yell at me you still love me?" Okay, I'm stunned. I'm not going to deny that I have yelled at my children. Not generally at the top of my lungs. But, I yell. I struggle with this continually. It's in my blood I think. My Mom yelled and I always promised myself I wouldn't. Well, I'm still praying daily that I would speak with love, patience, and gentleness toward my children. God helps me but it's tough. Sometimes I find myself raising my voice or yelling just because there are 4 loud young children and they won't stop making noise for me to even direct them. Okay, no excuses, I sometimes yell. But, wow.... How long has he wondered this? Does he think about it often? Does he seriously worry that I might not love him? I'll admit, I expect a lot out of Jaden as my oldest. He's sensitive although you might not readily see it in him. He's actually a lot like me. He expects a lot out of himself and gets easily disappointed in himself when he feels he has done wrong or has not met someone else's expectations. He's a lot like his Mom.

See, I'm a Words of Affirmation kind of gal. I remember something my Dad said to me when I was a preteen that hit me so hard. I'm sure it was said due to frustration or circumstances beyond my Dad's control. I'm sure my emotional and nasty preteen attitude didn't help. But, the harsh words still resonate in me sometimes. Of course I have forgiven my Dad. Of course my Dad would never intentionally hurt me or anyone else for that matter. Nonetheless, sticks and stones I can handle. Words. Boy, they can hurt me. If I receive a verbal encouragement or praise I feel 10 feet tall! I can conquer the world. I can handle any circumstance, any adversity. The negative words I don't easily forget. Jaden is a lot like his Mom. Whether its the words I say or how I say them (or how loud I say them), they stick with him!

So, after our time together I realized that my suspicions were right about my son. He loves and needs the quality time; it energizes him. And, the words of affirmation are essential. The negative words I've delivered to him make it even more important for me to affirm him. I am far from a perfect mom and I'm sure all of my children will have to forgive me over and over again. But, I'm learning. And, once we learn we are responsible for that which we've learned. I cannot ignorantly love Jaden anymore. And I don't want to.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Stephanie, I enjoyed reading your blog. I have also pinned each of my children's primary love language. It really does give understanding and I think every mom should read The Five Love Languages.