Saturday Story Time: The Five Love Languages; Quality Time

Saturday Story Time: The Five Love Languages; Quality Time

As a parent of four very different children I was searching for some answers in how to make sure each one felt loved. I stumbled across the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. It was a wonderful discovery and truly changed how I parent. “Of the countless ways we can show love to one another, five key categories, or five love languages, proved to be universal and comprehensive—everyone has a love language, and we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.” Gary Chapman. The past few Saturdays I have been sharing my thoughts on my kids love language and my attempts to make sure I am loving them in a language they can hear.

“Watch this mom” Isaac would say as he did a somersault. “Watch this mom. Are you watching? MOM watch me” Okay, Isaac I am watching, what are you going to do? Isaac thinks a minute and then jumps up and down. It was not what he was doing that mattered it was if he had my full attention. Now as a sixteen year old he still wants my undivided attention. Mom will you watch me play this video game? My mind is thinking of all the things I would rather do then watch him play a video game. Yet I have learned that if he is asking for me to watch him, he is really asking for me to love him with my time.

“Quality time is focused attention… As a child grows, the giving of quality time becomes more difficult, because it requires real sacrifice on the part of the parents.” Gary tells us. Isaac was sick last week, when I asked him what I could do for him, he asked me to read to him. Could you not just ask for a soda or to watch a movie? I have so much to do and never enough time. You want me to read to you? His question was a sign of not only his not physically feeling well but of his need to have his love ‘tank’ filled as well. I chose to read, I chose to honor him and let the to-do list wait. There have been many times when I would not make that choice, the urgent of the now would override his perceived need, and I missed the opportunity, the privilege, of loving my son in a way he was clearly needing.

One of the best things we have done together as a family, is to spend time at a cabin on an island in British Columbia that my family owns. While we are there we do not watch TV, no electronics are allowed and every night we play a board game together. Isaac thrives on this. If you asked him his favorite memory of going to the cabin he always says playing games at night. We have worked hard to continue to find games that are interesting and fun. “Settlers of Catan” has been the one to engage all of us as the kids have become teenagers. “Apples to Apples”, “PIT” and “Bananas” have also been long time favorites.

Understanding the love languages, accessing your child’s primary love language and finding ways to meet that need is not easy. I so wish my kids love language was the same as mine because I am really good at it. Loving your children, and really any human being for that matter takes time and effort. When I do choose to use the primary love language of my child, the results are well worth avoiding the “tyranny of the urgent” of my busy schedule.

When Isaac was feeling better at the end of this week he came up to me and gave me a huge hug. “Thanks for reading to me mom, I really appreciate it.” I look him in the eyes and say honestly “It was my pleasure.”


3 Comments so far
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Learning your kids “love language” — this is great stuff, Kari.

What did Isaac ask you to read to him?

Comment by Barb Stoefen

he needed to read one flew over the cuckoo’s nest. Thanks it has been really helpful to our family and even more so as they are teenagers. Do you know what your primary love language is?

Comment by Kari

Without knowing more about each category, my guess would be words of affirmation.

Comment by Barb Stoefen

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