A book The Five Love Languages has been rattling around my head for a few days. I haven’t read it, only heard of it. The basic premise is that there are five ways people show their love to others. Each person has a primary and secondary “love language”. Sometimes they are equally expressed, sometimes one is louder than the other.
The five languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, gift giving and quality time.
Sunday, I spent the day at my sister Hope’s house. Her son is an only child and he has everything he could ever want. Its not enough to have a Wii, he got an xbox. He has an unplayed guitar and dusty keyboard, both especially nice. Leather bedroom furniture, a 4-wheeler (though they live in a Franklin suburb with no trees) and a trampoline that he only uses when other people come over, the list goes on and on.
So I was thinking, are we training our children to speak in One Love Language? Gift Giving. And in so doing, are we perpetuating our extreme-consumer society?
My partner’s primary love language (I think) is gift giving. Her mother is a shopaholic (not casually) and the way they show their love in her family is to buy each other things. My partner, a broke musician most of her life, has always shown this sadness at Christmas time because all she has to give her family are home-made gifts, as if they are inferior in some way. To me, these are the best kind. Time is put into them, they are thoughtfully constructed for the person they are meant for and the maker’s love and hands go directly onto them. But I can see how being brought up in a home where love=stuff, the shiner the stuff the purer the love would seem.
I worry her side of the family will pass this on to our child and he will speak the language of “stuff”. Currently, he seems to lean to quality time and words of affirmation. He’s only three though, I hope it sticks.