Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Raising Children: Part 4 - Love Languages

There is a series of books written by Gary Chapman, PhD, some of which he has co-written with Ross Campbell MD. The original of these books is called, The Five Love Languages.

What are the 5 love languages? Touch, Words of Affirmation, Deeds of Service, Gifts and Time.
The basic premise is that within each of us is a predisposition to receive love best when it is expressed through one of these basic love languages. When  love  is expressed toward us through our preferred language, we recognize it and feel unconditionally loved and affirmed. When we do not receive love as expressed through our fundamental love language, we do not acknowledge it nor do we feel loved. It doesn't really matter how much we are loved, when it is expressed in a manner different from our fundamental love language, it doesn't quite reach us.

Children need large doses of love expressed through all of the love languages until they are at least 5. If we do not express our love in varied ways, they will hunger for love and be left unfed. If they receive varied expressions of love, they will grow up more secure than if they do not.

I have found the premise behind The Five Love Languages to be very helpful in being a parent. I've learned that by expressing disappointment or discipline without withdrawing my love toward my son, even if he has been deliberately badly behaved, he takes his consequences better and learns through inner conviction his error, and changes his behaviour or attitude more readily, than when I punish, withdraw my affection or explode.

I am learning my love language and that of others. I am discovering myself and how to identify the love languages of others by observing them and listening to them. I am adjusting my parenting as my son grows and reveals his love language: Time.

Both my husband and son share the love language of Time. According to Chapman, this means as wife and mother I need to devote fully engaged time with my family members if they are to receive the love I have for them. This is difficult for me as time, to me, is not as important as kind words (Words of Affirmation) or hugs (Touch).

I'm learning how to love better and am discovering that my life is full of time I didn't know I had. I'm receiving more of the love I like too: hugs and words of encouragement. Our household doesn't always 'hum' but it's better as I give my time and attention where it is needed and valued.

Thanks Gary Chapman for your book, The Five Love Languages

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