Oct 11, 2013

Getting the Loving Message Across

Rabbi Noach Orlowek writes, "R' Yechiel Yakobson, one of Israel's revered educators, once met with a group of 'off the track' teenagers.  He asked them how he could prevent what happened in their families happening in his own.  They answered, 'You don't have to worry.  Your children know you love them.'"

R' Orlowek then writes, "At a wedding in Milwaukee, I sat at the same table as Rav Michel Twersky, who grew up in Milwaukee 80 years ago and attended public school, since there were no yeshivos there at the time.  I asked him how he and his brothers turned out to be such wonderful marbitzei Torah and paragons of Torah principles and Torah living.  When I asked the question, his entire demeanor changed.  Slowly and clearly, he said something that has never left me.  'We knew two things about our father, that he loved us very much and that he believed in us.'"

R' Orlowek goes on to point out that this is not to say that families where children have rebelled did not love their children.  "But sometimes, the message that they love their children does not come through clearly."

One approach to getting the message across is by seeing which "love language" means the most to a child.  Gary Chapman explained how he came to categorize five love languages, "Some of my encounters with couples through the years that brought me to realize that what makes one person feel loved does not necessarily make another person feel loved. For a number of years, I have been helping couples in the counseling office discover what their spouse desired in order to feel loved. Eventually, I began to see a pattern in their responses. Therefore, I decided to read the notes I had made over twelve years of counseling couples and ask myself the question, “When someone sat in my office and said, ‘I feel like my spouse doesn’t love me,’ what did they want?” Their answers fell into five categories. I later called them the five love languages."

It's simple and straightforward and worth looking up.

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