While my homeschooling friends are asking, "What are you doing next year?" my non-homeschooling friends are asking, "How do you do it?!" (Here's where we get to the good stuff.) I am learning that, secondary to who we spend our moments with, the how of our days may be the next most important aspect of life. Not what I did, when I got it done, or where I've been... but how did I arrive at wherever I am. The story.
Likewise in homeschooling our success or failure is bound up in how we do what we do. There has only ever been one answer to the question of how I homeschool... the only answer there ever will be. I must hold the hearts of these children... my little men.
I was reminded a few times recently of a valuable resource I hadn't revisited in some time. It is an excellent starting point toward creating and maintaining healthy communication with any of your loved ones, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, more specifically to your children, The Five Love Languages of Children and The Five Love Languages of Teens. Discovering how your family members best receive your messages of love is amazingly impactful.
I have never taken another personality-related assessment in which my results aren't somewhat balanced. I am usually a rather solid blend of contrasts. However, in not only identifying my love language, but in discovering that my language is off the charts, I could discover patterns of both connectivity and disconnect in my life. Out of 12 possible points, my love language of physical touch was a 12... at no point in assessing communication did I place another language above that of touch. This love language isn't as basal as one might assume at first blush. To a predominantly physical touch person, the words "I love you" mean less than interlocking hands along the path, the gentle sweep of hair fallen forward, the knowing hand placed solidly in the small of your back, the waiting embrace at the end of the day, the warm cupped fingers about your face, the sheltering cover of one hand upon another in prayer. These moments speak volumes beyond words to someone whose language is physical touch. I know there are hearts nodding, "Yes!" as they read this. You just found your love language. On the flip side, the quickest way to disconnect from these individuals is to withdraw physically.
If you have a child whose love language is physical touch they crave your tangible presence. High-fives, a clap on the back, an arm draped about their shoulders all say "I love you.".. more than words... more than time... more than gifts. It is your touch they need in order to connect to you. As a child, I remember my dad would gently brush my long dark hair smooth and carefully weave soft little girl locks into braids.... one of my fondest memories. These moments spoke my language. Moments spent with my head on my mother's lap are treasures. To this day, my dad will take my face in his hands when he wants to know that I am hearing him. He is speaking love to my heart.
Generally love languages are a bit more balanced than mine. My children both have different love languages, each with more than one language closely matched. My little man is completely balanced between words of affirmation and physical touch. He craves that physical connection, but he also needs to hear me speak words of praise, love and assurance into his heart. This also means I must choose my words judiciously. Carelessly flung words wound him deeply. Once cast, they cannot be retracted.
My baby boy's language of love is a balance of acts of service and physical gifts. He longs to have his needs tended. I was shocked to hear him say that my service of washing his clothes demonstrated my love for him. His little heart needs to know that I am serving his needs through labor and gifts of love. These children are also most deeply hurt when we thoughtlessly put off needs until we finish what we are distracted by. This was critical for me to understand. It didn't come naturally to his physical touch mama... I had to step back and see through his eyes... his language.
When you are able to whisper love into your children's hearts... they will listen. Just as we find ourselves listening to our Heavenly Father as we settle into His all-sufficient presence, so our children will hear when they are resting secure in our love. Then, and only then, does truly effective learning take place.
So what is your language, and those of your children? You might be surprised at the flood gates that open as you seek to speak the heart languages of those you love! Above is a love language assessment for adults. The teen assessment is available on line and is easily adapted to younger children.
We enjoyed sharing our love language thoughts during dinner tonight and are beginning a new heart-centered habit to enhance the ties among us this summer. We'll take a look at our new endeavor in the next post.
From our hearth to yours,
Today I am linking in fellowship with moms of faith.
Won't you join us at Seeds of Faith,
where moms encourage one another in Him?