Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Love Language #5: Acts of Service

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 6 of The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D.  Please know that what we all get out of a study is usually different.  We would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well.  We suggest that you read the chapters in your book as well as participate in the study online by commenting below each post.  By doing so, we will all learn so much more!)

After reading Chapter 6:  Love Language #5: Acts of Service, I immediately ran upstairs to one of my sons and asked him just what Will (a father that Gary Chapman met at a seminar) had asked his son.  I looked at my son and asked "You know I love you, right?  Can you tell me how you know that I love you?"  (In this chapter, Will finds out about each of his sons' love languages by asking this simple but very important question to his sons.)  I was expecting my son to say "yes, sure I know.  You buy me things, you cook me dinner, you help me with my homework."  What I wasn't expecting was his true reply…"Of course you love me mom.  You always give up your seat on the couch for me, you let me sit by you while you drink your coffee in the mornings, you rub my head when you're talking to me and spend time with me when I ask you."  If you look back to the post on November 22nd when we talked about the love language of touch, I reassured everyone that his love language was definitely not touch.  What changed?  What made me realize that maybe this is his love language?  I started showing each of these love languages to both of children each day.  Maybe I'd rub his head when he ran by, spent some extra time playing a game, gave them words of affirmation, special gifts….just to make sure they both knew how much I truly love them.

As stated before, it's hard for me to tell the love language of my child with autism.  He can't really get into these in depth conversations that my other son can.  While I'm trying to navigate through these in depth conversations with my one son, I am making sure I am showing both sons all five love languages in hopes to discover the love language of my son with autism.  What I am discovering is really fascinating to me.  Not only do both of my sons have two main love languages, but it's also very easy to speak these love languages to them and is making our mother-son bonds that much stronger.

What does all of this have to do with Acts of Service, our next and final love language?  It's the love language I need to learn to speak in both boys in different ways.

My boys are twins.  One has autism.  One does not.  One is a daredevil.  One loves to play it safe.  With the previous love languages, I've pretty much been able to show them both in the same way.  This one will be different.  For my son with autism, Acts of service will include teaching him how to do his daily living skills like making his bed, taking out the trash, brushing his teeth, etc… For my son who doesn't have autism, it will be sitting down and helping him with his homework, helping him organize his desk and his bedroom…things that he is struggling with.  It's tough sometimes, though, with my boys being the same age.  I have to separate where Sean, my son with autism, should be with what he can be at this moment.  With Sean, my acts of service can be simply sitting down and building his Marble Run tower that he loves to build however takes a long time to complete.  For other son who struggles with being organized, I can show him this acts of service by cleaning out his closet and organizing it for him.  However, then teaching him how to do it himself to stay organized.

If you have not read this chapter, I recommend that you do.  There were a lot of good points and ideas to remember while showing your children this final love language.  The one that really meant the most to me was….

The ultimate purpose for acts of service to children is to help them emerge as mature adults who are able to give love to others through acts of service.  (p. 89)

Also, be sure to read the end of the chapter titled "What The Children Say".  It will really open your eyes!!!

I also love how they included this verse from the NIV Bible…

"When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed…"  Luke 14:12-14

Do you get the meaning in this?  It's not really about throwing a banquet.  It's about giving to those who can't give back.  Not to expect anything in return.  When you are doing these acts of services, you can't keep track of all you've done…for your children, for your spouse, for you friends/family/neighbors.  It's easy for us to keep track of it and then throw it back in the faces with people we know and love.  With complete strangers we do not.  Let's have the same attitude as we are serving our family.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this love language as well.  What are some acts of service you can do or are doing for your children/spouse/family?

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