I love gifts! My mom is the queen of celebration. When we visit my parents in Michigan they always have little bags of treats and goodies waiting for us. And whenever they come to Washington they bring special gifts for each person (including Tim and me). This February they flew straight here from a vacation with my aunts and uncles. What did they do about the GIFTS? Not to worry. They mailed them ahead of time so they would be here waiting and ready for their arrival.
With all of that said, it’s not surprising that I have inherited some of this joy of celebration and gift-giving. Last week I read something in Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers that reminded me of my mom’s creative way with presents. Chapman said that adding a bit of “ceremony” to gift giving can turn the ordinary into a special moment. This is especially true for children who have gifts as their primary love language.
As parents, we often buy needed items for our children (socks, toiletries, school supplies) and then hand them over matter-of-factly. There is nothing wrong with this, but to the child who feels especially loved through gifts, it is possible to transform these casual purchases into small tokens of love.
Since we have been discussing this topic over the week (as Rachel so cheerfully blogged for me), I have been sensitive to the nuances that might reveal my five children’s potential love languages.
I thought I would try Chapman’s suggestion with David, age 7, (whom I suspect has a strong leaning toward gifts as his love language). Tim and I bought some clothes for the children in October when we were in Virginia and stopped by a Children’s Palace outlet. Everything had been distributed except for a few items for David. I told David I had a little surprise for him.
“Nothing big, just a little something.”
He was ecstatic! He couldn’t wait to see what I had. He wanted to open it right then and there. He beamed and told me he was ready for the present.
I rolled up a pair of corduroy pants and put them into a gift bag (topped with some tissue paper). Next I took a pair of jeans and put them in another gift bag (complete with additional tissue paper). I brought the bags downstairs to David.
His eyes were big. “Why are there TWO bags?” he asked. “Just because,” I said.
I’m a mom so I can say inconclusive and vague things like that.
David opened those two gift bags and raved over his two pair of pants as if he had been given a new remote control helicopter or exotic toy. He rushed to try them on. He showed them to his big brother and sister. He hugged and thanked me. It was a little moment of sweet joy.
All over two pair of slacks. With a little bit of ceremony (how hard it is to find a gift bag and some tissue) David felt special and recognized.
Interestingly enough, none of his four siblings fussed that he was getting a present and they weren’t. They oohed and aahed over his things and went on with the evening.
Of course, I am not saying you should try to buy your child’s affections with gifts or neglect any of the other four love languages. Frankly, I believe people need all five of the expressions of love – words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch and gift giving.
I do, however, think with just a little bit of extra energy and thought, you can take something mundane, make it special and bless your child.
And that Works for Me! Stop by Rocks in My Dryer for other Works for Me Wednesday blogs.
P.S. A few questions – have you read any of the 5 Love Languages book? Do you know your love language? Your spouse’s? Your children’s? Do you think the “Love Language” concept is accurate and helpful? Share!