Since I have to pick, my primary love language is Gifts!
When I want to encourage someone, my first idea is always to give them something I know they love. That’s how I communicate to them that I know them, I care about them, I’m thinking of them, and I pay attention to little details about them.
If one of my friends is feeling especially down, I’ll go out of my way to pick them up a donut before school or drop off their favorite snack and a heartfelt card at their house. Giving is how I show my affections towards the ones I love. In exchange, when others give to me, I feel a great sense of mutual appreciation. I feel so valued when someone takes the time or occasionally money out of their day to make me something or buy me breakfast.
I spent my birthday at camp( The Swamp) this past summer, and while I was there my best friend sent me a package that contained my favorite snacks, funny gag gifts, a sash that said “birthday princess”, and a card with a long hand written letter and pictures of us glued all over it. I felt so loved, it really showed how well she knows me. The thought behind every item in the package revealed the effort she put into making me feel special.
To parents with teens that also have the love language of gifts, I would suggest spontaneously offering to provide them with the meal of their choice for dinner, or have their favorite candy waiting for them in their room. Maybe your child isn’t a foodie like me, and you’re looking for a different approach; write them a sympathetic card. Include things you admire about them, reasons you’re grateful for them, and insure them that whatever is bringing them anxiety or stress is not going to last forever. Introduce them to comforting scriptures such as Psalm 55:22, Matthew 11:28-30, or Psalm 139:9-10. Leave it on their bed or in their bathroom.
The foodie in me can’t help but also suggest that you wake up 10 minutes early one morning and surprise them by making them breakfast. My dad makes me waffles or eggs for breakfast every now and then, and it always makes me feel loved. He also starts my car 5 minutes before I leave on cold mornings so that it’s warm by the time I get in, so for parents with teens who can drive, I would definitely recommend doing this as a simple gesture that is greatly appreciated. To give your child a meaningful gift, you don’t necessarily have to spend money at all.
Sincere tokens of gratitude are sure to make your teen feel known, cared for, and prioritized.
Caroline Rigdon is a Senior at Jackson County Comprehension High School. She serves in multiple ways in her church, community and internationally. Caroline has also recently been accepted to the University of Georgia! Proud and honored she chose to share her heart and words for the merger.