I was sharing with one of Ella’s therapists a few months ago how challenging it was to not be able to comfort Ella with hugs and cuddles when she’s upset. She suggested that maybe Ella would feel love and connection through other avenues, like words of encouragement or time together. Yes, this seems to be a nod to the wildly popular five love languages, which of course I have read and find to be a somewhat helpful tool. But it really isn’t something I had thought about with my three year old. Nurture and attachment through physical touch is a very normal part of attachment with a biological baby and helped tremendously with Kai.
I left that session and tried to be more purposeful with my words with Ella. She has such a large discrepancy between words she understands and words she can speak. It honestly can be difficult to remember that she can receive and comprehend words. I was more proactive in praising her and telling her how helpful and kind and beautiful she is. These words made a huge difference for her. She responds to words and tone of voice with incredible accuracy. The more I used words to encourage her, the more she came to me for physical comfort when she felt scared or afraid or frustrated. As I grew more intentional with words, she felt more secure.
As I have paid closer attention to my words, I realize I don’t speak words of encouragement as often as I think. I may think or even write about what I love about my kids. But I keep it in much more often than I would like.
I used to consider myself strong on encouragement. It felt like words of encouragement were part of how God wired me to love others well. Lately, I have found myself so uncertain of my words. Am I saying the right thing? Are my words brining any life into hard places? As I learn more and more of the brokenness in this world, I find myself much slower to speak. I want my words to breathe life, not breed discouragement.
I want my kids to remember my words as life giving, encouraging, building up. Some things we say require a lot of thoughtfulness. But we can never say I love you too often. We can never praise our kids for their character and what they do and who they are enough. I don’t want my kids to ever wonder how I feel about them. Words matter. Let’s not let the important ones go unsaid. #exhalecreativity #exhalenoticewriting #daythirteen #someoneiencouraged #encourage #words