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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How Do You Spell Love?

Photo Credit:  Kevin Connors from
It’s not what we have in our life, but who we have in our life that counts.  ~ J.M. Laurence
Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within the reach of every hand. ~ Blessed Mother Teresa

My youngest daughter always asks me to spell words for her.  Last week, she asked me, “How do you spell love?”  “L-O-V-E,” I quickly responded, so ecstatic that she loves words as much as her momma.  But, then I thought more about that simple question.  How DO we spell love?  How do we show love?  How do people know and feel our love?

Her inquiry prompted me to give each of my children Dr. Gary Chapman’s online quiz about the five love languages of children.  I had given the quiz to the older two a couple of years ago, but I hadn’t given my youngest the test yet.  It was time for a refresher, so they all had their turn at answering the questions.  It warmed my heart to hear their choices.

Come to find out, each of my three children have a different love language.  So, each of them feels most loved in a slightly different way.  That makes mothering them all the more exciting now doesn’t it?!  One size does NOT fit all!  I know that from my Halloween costume adventure, but we won’t rehash that at this time.  Ha!

Dr. Gary Chapman breaks his love languages down into simple terms.  I like simple.  Here they are:

Receiving Gifts
Children with the love language of gifts feel good when someone gives them a special present or a small surprise gift.

Physical Touch
Children whose love language is physical touch like to receive hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and high-fives.

Acts of Service
Children whose love language is acts of service like it when others do nice things for them such as helping with chores, helping with school projects, driving them places, or being asked to help make dinner.

Quality Time
Children with the love language of quality time like it when others do things with them like play a game, watch television with them, or go to a ballgame together.  It’s not so much what they do, as long as they are spending time together.

Words of Affirmation
Children whose love language is words of affirmation like for others to use encouraging words to tell them that they are special and that they do a good job.

If you haven’t done the quiz with your kiddos, I encourage you to give it a try.  It’s only twenty short questions and you might be surprised at their answers.  Of course, Dr. Chapman encourages a bit more patience with younger children.  He said that you might try asking him or her to draw some ways parents love their children.  Or, when reading books or watching programs together, you might ask the question, "How do you know that mommy or daddy loves that little boy or little girl?" Another way is to experiment by expressing love in each of the five ways over a week's period of time and see what their response is to each expression of love. 

Not long ago, a friend posted something on facebook that really hit home in the “show-your-children-you-love-them” department.  It was a wonderful blog post by Rachel Macy Stafford called, “Six Words You Should Say Today.”  She said, “When simply watching someone makes your heart feel as if it could explode right out of your chest, you really should let that person know.  I’ve got six words for you.”  I couldn’t grasp the impact that those six special words would actually make. 

“I love to watch you play.”  Yes, those six words are the magical words that just might change the way that you interact with your own family.  I share Rachel’s sentiments in the fact that I’m wordy too, so rarely do I stop at six words.  (No comments from my friends out there…)  I’m the type of gal that gets frustrated by word limits of any kind.  Instead of increasing margins to three inches, font to 24, and triple spacing, I’m forever making the margins zero, the font 10, and using single spacing.  So, to say, “I love to watch you play,” and leave it at that, would certainly be challenging.

Have I ever said those words to my children before?  Surely, over the years I have encouraged, cheered, gently guided, complimented, and offered constructive criticism.  But, I really can’t recall saying those exact words often enough.  So, I experimented.

The first opportunity I had to try them out was after watching my daughter play the piano.  In awe, I sat on our couch, mesmerized by her little fingers gently gliding over the keys…making music…beautiful music.  I don’t play the piano and I don’t know a half note from a quarter note, so my heart just gushed with pride as I watched her play so seemingly effortlessly.  After she finished my private recital, I simply said, “I love to watch you play.”  That’s it.  Nothing more.

A magnificent smile radiated from her precious face and her eyes glistened.  She was so proud.  They WERE magical!  Six words.  She insisted on playing several more tunes for me and then gave me the biggest Mommy-sized hug ever.  Simply said, those words seem to really take the pressure off. 

There have been many opportunities for me to use these special words with my other two children as well.  I specifically enjoy telling my children things like, “I love to watch you teach your sister,” and “I love to watch you share,” and “I love to watch you be an example of Christ’s love,” etc.   You wouldn’t believe the joy that beams from their little souls.  Try it.

My six-year-old daughter loves books about world records – longest fingernails, oldest woman, shortest man, largest chocolate bar, tallest building, and so forth.  Wouldn’t it be incredible if there was a world record book that was home to records like: most time spent in prayer in one hour, most hugs given in a day, least amount of gossiping in one week, most times to forgive in a month, most times to “pay it forward” in a year?  Wouldn’t that be a fabulous way to spell love?  Just an idea…

I’ll leave you with one final thought.  “I don’t have time to worry about who doesn’t like me because I’m too busy loving the people who love me.”  (Author Unknown)  Surely, most of us can spell love – L-O-V-E.  But, are we giving our best effort at showing it, sharing it, and nurturing it?  Every.  Single.  Day.  Maybe it’s through finding out someone’s love language?  Maybe it’s using those six special words?  Maybe it’s working toward that “new” world record?  Maybe it’s focusing on others more than ourselves?

How do YOU spell love?  Let’s spell it…show it…share it…and live it this week.  Want to spell love for someone you may not even know?  Send a card or letter to an injured Marine and bring some love to their military heart.  Get the scoop from this link through Mikey’s FunniesBe sure to get those letters in the mail by December 1st!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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