Parenting Focus – “Running on Empty”
Kim and I have been truly blessed by the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. The testimonies of what the Lord has done through the practical tools found in the book gave us good insight into our marriage. In the next few editions of the Focus it is my prayer that the Lord will speak to you and help you understand where your children are, and how you can help them become all that God wants them to be.
Have you ever asked yourself, in my day to day activity are my children encountering unconditional love from me? In the business of daily activity we can get caught up in completing daily tasks and in the process we begin to neglect expressing love to our children. I remember a lesson the Lord taught me a few years ago. One evening while I was preparing dinner one of my sons came into the kitchen desiring to spend some time with me. I caught myself busy and getting short with him. I sent him into the other room and in that moment the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said “he just wants to spend time with you.” Even though I was doing a task that was an act of service to them in preparing their meal I quickly stopped what I was doing and went to spend some time with them. Amazingly I spent time with them making them the priority and still got my task done afterward. The Lord spoke to me some more later that evening. He gave me a picture of when I need him he is always available to me, showing me unconditional Love.
“Our children at times speak a language we may not, at first, fully understand. But when it comes to our children understanding what we say, we may not fully communicate our ideas, either.” Have you ever been in a situation in which you were disciplining your child and they give you the look. The look that they have no clue what you are saying. It reminds me of the classic Charlie Brown cartoon when Charlie Brown was in school the teacher when talking to the students would say “wawawawawawaaa.” I used that as an example of what our children understand at times when we are trying to bring a point across. Sometimes we need to stop and ask our children do they truly understand me? If our children have difficulty understanding our basic directions at times do you think they also have difficulty understanding how much we love them? “Do you speak your child’s love language?” As parents we need to learn to speak our child’s love language.
“Speaking your child’s primary love language does not mean he or she will not rebel later. It does mean your child will know you love them, and that can bring them security and hope; it can help you to rear your child to responsible adulthood. Love is the foundation.” I can think of numerous occasions when I have heard children say I only wanted to be loved. When I worked in the human service field I remember working with troubled youths that only wanted to be loved. In their desire they lashed out in various behavior. It always puzzled me until I finally realized negative attention was better than anything in their eyes. The negative attention filled their love tank. I also remember the example of the ministers son when I was interning at a church who didn’t know how to connect with his parents. There was no doubt that he was loved by his parents but he wasn’t receiving that love and he felt disconnected and alone. “You can truly love your child, but unless she feels it—unless you speak the love language that communicates to her love—she will not feel loved.”
God’s love is something that unless we study through the scriptures and prayer we will never truly understand. God’s love was made real to 12 disciples as Jesus modeled a love unlike any other. A love that took him to the cross. A love we receive today through salvation, and the promise of eternal life with God; the author and finisher of all things. I conclude our first edition with the following thought as we walk through this study. Our goal and purpose is that God would teach us practical tools that will help our children grow into healthy adults.