Well this was the year for a new experience for my oldest daughter, Rachel. 2015 was the year that I introduced her to Black Friday shopping.
For the past six years, I have ventured out before the sun was up by myself (while occasionally meeting up with a friend or family member) to be part of the madness for finding the best deals. I must say that I have never waited hours (or more than probably 20 minutes) in line for ANYTHING on Black Friday….but I don’t judge those who do! For me, it has been an opportunity to be really productive within a few hours and get some gifts crossed off my list.
So this year I was thrilled that Rachel wanted to join me! Honestly, I wasn’t in search of a particular item like I was in years past, so I considered staying home in my pajamas and shopping online like many other wise people do. However Rachel was so excited about Black Friday shopping that I decided spending one-on-one time with her was definitely worth the lack of sleep I would suffer from the next day.
It. Was. Awesome. She sat with me on my in-law’s living room floor as we skimmed the ads for gifts our family would like. Then she made a list of everyone on our list and gift suggestions for each person. Then she wrote down our “route” for which stores we would go to based on what time each store opened and when certain deals ended. After we (well….mostly she) made our plan of attack, she set her alarm on her watch and woke me up at 4:30 a.m. I loved it! I barely even had to think! She made our list, had ideas for gifts each person would enjoy, and even told me what time she would wake me up in the morning. My job was just to drive…and to pay.
For me, the best part of our Black Friday shopping day together was getting to see Rachel’s “love language” in full action. A few years ago, I read the best-selling book “The 5 Love Languages of Children”, by author Gary Chapman who teaches parents how to meet the emotional needs of their children by learning what he calls their love languages. Chapman gives insight into five primary ways that people feel loved emotionally, and these can be applied to all types of relationships from parenting to marriage to work relationships. He has written several books on these various relationships.
Chapman shares, “In raising children, everything depends on the love relationship between the parent and child. Nothing works well if a child’s love needs are not met. Only the child who feels genuinely loved and cared for can do his or her best. You may truly love your child, but unless he or she feels it – unless you speak the love language that communicates to her your love – he or she will not feel loved.” He also describes it as a “love tank” and making sure your child’s “love tank” is always filled up by showing them they are loved through that child’s unique love language.
While all of the languages are equally important in making a child feel loved unconditionally and parents should demonstrate all of these in a healthy way to their children, each person has one or two of these that makes them feel more special and loved than the others.
The 5 love languages are:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Each person has their own way of giving and receiving love. What parents need to remember is to focus on learning the love language of their child, because their child’s love language is often different than their own. Chapman also discusses how this affects the child’s anger, the child’s learning, and with discipline.
My love language is “Acts of Service”, but I need to remember that Rachel’s love language is different than mine. Rachel’s love language is “Gifts”. Wait…why is this a love language? Doesn’t everyone love to receive gifts?
Here are a few examples of how having the love language of “gifts” is about more than just getting a lot of presents. Rachel keeps everything anyone has ever given to her and keeps them in a special place…even pretty much every birthday card she has ever received is in a special box in her closet. I love that she truly treasures and appreciates gifts that people have given her, and she remembers exactly who gave it to her and for what occasion. She also is very sincere and puts a lot of thought into giving gifts to others and is always showing love through simple gestures like putting flowers from the garden in a vase or making artwork for family and friends.
The “5 Love Languages” has been a great tool for helping me gain insight into my husband and daughters, because each of us has a different love language. Whether your child is 5 or 15 or even 25, it is not too late to gain this valuable insight and build a stronger relationship with your child. Free resources are available at www.5lovelanguages.com to help determine not just your own love language but also your child’s, grandchild’s, spouse’s, and really anyone with whom you have a relationship.
Psalm 139: 13-14 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Director of Admissions & Marketing