Thanksgiving Day Challenge: Discover Five Keys to Unlocking Your Child’s Heart

Written By: Dr. Steve D. Whitaker, Head of School


Are you ready for a challenge? Today, family members will surround you. In the midst of the activities and excitement, take time to notice the uniqueness of each child. Did you know that there are five keys to unlocking the heart of every child?

God has wired all children differently and as parents, we must learn to understand and appreciate the unique characteristics of our children. For example, Amanda, Stephen, and Caleb (the children God entrusted to Tricia and me) each have a dominant love language. While we express our love in all five ways, we know that each child has a preferred language. Let me encourage you to think about these five love languages and how you might begin loving our children in a way that reaches their hearts like never before – Thanksgiving Day is a great time to begin!


1. Physical touch is typically easier for moms than dads. However, that’s no excuse for dad to be the “strong silent” guy in the family. Let down your guard dad and hug your kids every day. Boys and girls need your physical touch and affection to build confidence and self-worth. They need you to hold their hands and give them assurance of your strength. It may not be the primary love language of every child, but every child needs a loving physical touch daily, if possible.


2. Spending time with your child seems easy enough. But research tells us that children feel more isolated now than ever before. The explosive growth of technology has created new challenges in this area. Just because you are sitting at the same dinner table or riding in the same car doesn’t mean you are giving your children the gift of time. If I’m checking email or reading an iBook while sitting at home on the couch, I’m really missing the point. Connecting with our children requires that we put down the devices and give our full attention to those we love the most.


3. Another way to show love is through acts of service. This can be a tough one for some of us; some of us were brought up to believe that children were supposed to be the ones serving. While I believe our children should have a serving role in the family, I also know that when we serve our children in an intentional way, powerful things happen. Here are a couple of suggestions to get started:


4. Gift giving is an obvious choice for showing love, especially during holidays. But I want to challenge you to go beyond what’s expected. Take time to really think about what your child appreciates. Be creative and think small. Sometimes the most treasured items are the little gifts that have a personal touch. Don’t wait until Christmas or the next birthday, especially for that child whose love language is gift giving. The gift of handwritten note will mean more to your child than you can imagine.


5. Words of affirmation are a beautiful treasure. There are three things you want to tell your children over and over again. First, tell them that you love them every day. Second, tell your kids you are proud of them. Not only in general terms, although that’s important, but in specific ways that relate to their character. Finally, tell them how thankful you are for them. God gave our children to us as a gift. They deserve to know how much we treasure them. Words of affirmation should be written and spoken.


For more information on love languages, read what Dr. Gary Chapman has written. His teaching has application beyond our homes and families. You can order a copy HERE. I would love to hear your stories as you learn to love your children in their own special way. Enjoy this special day with your family.



Steve D. Whitaker
Head of School