‘Love languages’ (as seen in books by Gary Chapman) is a very interesting concept to explore, and valuable in developing skills to build relationships, especially in families.
It helps us to demonstrate love to our children and family members, and also makes us aware of how we can show care and kindness to others.
I often unpack the five 'love languages' with students when dealing with incidences where students have social and emotional issues or when situations occur that involve unkind behaviour. As you will see from the link below, different people might have different ways they show love or care to others, and also have different ways they perceive love or care when they are on the receiving end (most people enjoy the combination of a few).
The area I really unpack with students is the ‘negative’ of each of the five 'languages'. These go against God’s command of loving others, but are also very clearly undesirable by everyone. Students normally figure it out very quickly when I start talking about it.
Where positive touch could be high-5 or pat on the shoulder, a negative touch hurts others. The negative version of words of affirmation, would be nasty comments. Gift-giving might be allowing someone to borrow an eraser or the giving of a homemade card, but taking others' things without permission is the opposite. Acts of service could be as simple as taking somebody else’s rubbish to the bin with yours, or holding the door while others walk through. On the other hand, if you expect others to clean up after you and you walk away, that does not show kindness. The last 'love language' is often the one that gives students the most joy (on the positive side) and upsets students the most (in the negative). It is spending quality time with others. At school, it is demonstrated when students play with peers, allowing others to join a game or activity during recess or lunch. On the negative side, it is deliberate exclusion.
Let us encourage our students to develop those languages, and guard against hurtful behaviour. Let us be aware as adults of the different love languages available to demonstrate our care to our children. It will help us to show love in a 'language' they understand and make sure they feel loved.
Mrs Antoinette Wilson
Head of Primary