Now we are talking my love language- ACTS OF SERVICE.
I actually feel bad about this. Many husbands could just buy roses or chocolates or a Nordstrom gift card for Valentine’s Day, but not my hubby. He spent 2 hours on Valentine’s Day hanging my “grand central station” to show me he loved me.
Seriously, service is what I wanted most this Valentine’s Day and on any other day for that matter. I feel Chad’s love every time he helps me with my computer, buckles a kid in a carseat, drives the kids to school, joins me in a project, or puts the crock pot away in the high cupboard.
The bad news is that Acts of Service are physically and emotionally demanding (just ask Chad what time he got to bed.) But the good news is that service is an inherent part of parenthood and many of the mundane tasks we do every day like making meals and helping with homework “are expressions of love with long-term effects.” Chances are if your child’s love language is service and you are serving with a positive attitude, his/her emotional tank is already full.
There are many different ways you can serve your children. Repair a bicycle tire, make their bed, pick out an outfit for school, make their favorite cookies or snack, help with a school project, quiz your child for an upcoming test, practice sports with them, read stories, etc. The trick is to balance service with teaching independence. We want our kids to be competent, capable adults but we also want them to feel love.
Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, authors of The Five Love Languages of Children, bring up some additional points about Acts of Service that I want us to be aware of:
- Acts of service must be age appropriate. You do for your child what they cannot do themselves.
- Don’t use acts of service as a way to manipulate your children.
- Be sure that your acts of service are communicating love and not bitterness or resentment. It only counts as love if you didn’t complain. (Shoot! Again.)
One part that really stuck out to me in this chapter was picking one special area in which you want to go the extra mile every time for your child. The authors suggest always putting marshmallows in your kids hot chocolate or making sure their favorite teddy bear is sitting on the bed at bedtime. As I thought about what I could do, I remembered that once in a blue moon I remember to throw the kids’ towels in the dryer during bath time and then they can get out of the tub to a toasty, cozy towel. I think I will try to do this more often as my special act of service to them.
Perhaps the biggest goal or blessing from Acts of Service, as a Love Language, is that we are modeling for our children how to serve others. When they see us serve them cheerfully, they are learning to serve others as well. This is a skill not to be undervalued. We want our children to be serving adults.
Here are some additional service ideas: