Saturday, August 1, 2009

Love Languages

Fast forward one year.

School will begin in a week. We'll be shopping for school supplies, making sure there are shoes that fit, sucking the last life out of summer's freedom.

We'll be hitting a milestone as a family, too. Our first little bird will be leaving the nest to attend school outside of our home. The next year it will be another. And so it will go on.

I've been thinking a lot about what that day will be like. What is it that we need to accomplish this year to prepare for the next stage? What ground have we not covered academically, spiritually, emotionally, socially?

I'm no fool to think that there is a magic formula or a simple checklist. God has directed and equipped us. We've applied ourselves to the task- sometimes with great failure and other times with success. She belongs to the Lord. He will take her through her own roads of this life. We are trusting Him for the results.

The one thing has been on my heart recently is the need to focus on our relationship in this coming year. It is so hard at times to span the gap of ages. A three year old has drastically different needs than a preteen. It is very difficult to take off my micromanaging toddler hat and relax enough to actually listen and exchange ideas with the older kids. It would be much easier to treat them as one unit. I am guilty of this at times, yet they are growing into young ladies with their own opinions and dreams. The days of constant care are gone. Now is the time to build them up and send them out.

For this reason The Five Love Languages Of Teenagers caught my eye at the library. I was thinking that I'd just skim it through. I know my kids already, right? And certainly they know they are love.

Wow, has it been not only convicting, but instructive. It has made me much more aware of body language and responses that I am given. More than that, though, this book has brought to light my own assumption that each one of them interprets my love the same way. This simply is not true. Moreover, the things that I do not do (or do poorly- like tone of voice) actually has a negative effect on their perceptions of my love.

I've spent some time this week just asking them randomly about some of the content of this book. I've asked them two questions: "When do you feel most loved- the kind of love that makes you smile later when you think about it?" and "When/ or what has happened when you are not sure of my love for you?" They were honest with me and I am excited about the conversations that resulted.

Yes, we still have 180 of school to work through this year. There are still some loose ends that need to be tied up. But in the short time that I've been trying to love them a bit more intentionally, the response has been joyful for both of us.

8 comments:

Tisha said...

Beautiful!! You are such a great Mom.

mindi said...

You really are a great mom, I look up to you!

Anonymous said...

Monica,
It sounds like you are enjoying some good fruit. What a blessing to learn from the book. My husband and I are also reading the "Five Love Languages of Children". I have heard great recommendations about it even though we think we "know" our children, right? Your letter to your little son was great. I am trying to record the same type of things to my little ones regularly. Mary Brooke in Atlanta

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Sounds like a great book and a great time in your kids lives to read it. I haven't read any of them, but have heard talks about them for marriages.

I can't believe one child will head off to school - how exciting! Hope your school year kicks off smoothly!

SentimentsbyDenise said...

This is a fabulous resource for parenting and kudos to you for finding it now, while your family is young.
My husband and I teach a young married group at our church and used the Love Language book for couples recently, having each person take the profile. It was so helpful to them as individuals and as a couple to know and understand their own "language" and that of their spouse.
We also had our (adult) children take it (the profile test) and were not surprised of the results, as we've grown with them through the years in understanding their language. It would have helped so much to have this book earlier in our parenting adventure, though, to ease some of the "growing pains".

Brooke said...

Praying for your first weeks to be a productive and fruitful time together despite the challenges that come with implementing the new routine. You are doing a wonderful job!

Sniz said...

I'm going to get this book today based on your recommendation. Rog and I have read through the five love languages and really got a lot out of it. I can imagine the teen one will be even more eye-opening for me. Baylee's going through major internal changes right now and seeking me out to talk a lot and I'm just not sure I'm having the right response. I didn't know this was THE YEAR for Hannah...for some reason I thought it was next year in eighth grade. We're also having some doubts about Wil being at Avon. I feel pretty confused right now. Anyway, it sounds like God is really filling you up and really speaking to you right now. I wish you the best as you start school!

Monica said...

Sniz, you were right. She isn't going until next year. This is her last year at home, thus, the need to focus now on relationship.

I was happy to see your name on the LHE list for this year. The girls were happy, too:)