“You better stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about…”
It was anything but delight. Coming out of the grocery store last Saturday, a mom walked out with two-dozen eggs and a crying 5-year-old girl. I had all 4 kids with me and they were nearly crying because of the perceived pain of rejection and disappointment. What her mother expressed seemed too much to bear.
I use the “I’m a pastor” line frequently when I meet folks because it let’s their guard down. I shared that I’m a pastor and asked the mom if I could pray for her and introduced myself to her and her daughter. Both of their countenances changed and I was able to say a quick prayer and we went on our way.
For a quick moment little “Ava” was told that she was beautiful and is loved by God. (I’m guessing that’s not what she hears too frequently.) The pain Ava must have felt is all too normal for a child. That’s why we have to be aggressive with delight. But how?
How do we intentionally delight in our children?
In Gary Chapman’s New York Times Bestseller, “The 5 Love Languages” he identifies five ways we receive and give love. He shares the analogy of each of us having a love tank needing to be filled and that each of us receives and gives love uniquely. Then, he shares the avenues: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. I’ve heard others add a sixth category of thoughtfulness.
You can think of these categories as they apply to each of the ten ways.
Right now for ours, jumping on the trampoline is a huge deposit. It could be taking a bike ride together. We have the Apples to Apples Bible Edition Board game and they love it. Samuel loves to play chess. The boys love it when we wrestle. They all love freeze tag.
Yours are probably a little different. It may be some other game, some other activity . The main point here is that you’re giving your undistracted attention to them.
And, each of your children will experience their “love tank” being filled by different mediums. As we spend time with them and make the love tank deposits, we’ll learn which ones touch their hearts most. Even though Hannah loves gifts, she still likes it when I help her out with dishes and look in her eyes and tell her what her name means.
You’re being generous with your precious resources of time (you could be doing something else for yourself like checking Facebook, reading a book, watching TV, catching up on email, exercising, talking to a friend on the phone etc.)
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
The love you have inside is the perfect currency for your child. Being generous with the love you give them is one of the most Christ-like qualities you can display. Their hearts were made to respond to love. The consistent, intentional display of delight in their lives shines the light of the love of Christ into the core of their beings.
I assume that you are already doing many of these things and others. But maybe you’ve weaned in your intentionality or practice. We all need a boost now and then.
Making it Practical
Here are couple of ideas to boost your delight meter. For each of your kids, write down one thing you will do this week that expresses delight to them. Then, think of maybe one thing a day that you can do. It might just take 5 minutes, but the being consistent and intentional will build on itself to foster habits of delight. If you have grown kids, they still love to be delighted in.
For a bonus, set a weekly reminder on your calendar or phone to do one active per child per week. :o)
Thanks for reading. Remember, you have a great gift to give and Jesus takes great delight in your offering.
P.S. One more thing, Sarah and I want to know your strategies (because others need to hear)… what is another way that you share the love and delight with your child(ren)? You can comment below…