The first six years – trying to understand their world.
Most parents are fully dedicated to meeting the physical needs of their young children. However, they may not think as much about the child’s emotional needs. One of the needs that is essential to the child’s well-being is the need to feel loved. The first six years are extremely important in meeting this emotional need. And childhood is way too short!
In the early stages, parents should speak all five love languages. Jesus spoke all of them here.
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them… Physical touch is the most natural language for parents. It is almost instinctive to hold and cuddle young children. All research indicates that children who receive tender touch at this stage of life will be much healthier emotionally than children who receive little touch.
16 And he took the children in his arms… Why? To get them on eye level because they’re too short otherwise. Acts of service is a love language that you must speak in order for your child to survive. When your child is an infant, you feed, clean and change her. As she grows, you serve her by exposing her to things she can see, touch, taste, smell and hear. You do things for her that she cannot do for herself.
14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them Quality time becomes important as a child ages. This is when reading stories, as he sits on your lap, becomes meaningful. Playing age - appropriate games communicates that you love him. The child has your undivided attention, and nothing is more important to him.
placed his hands on them... Jesus knew that someday, they could tell people about the time when the Son of God lived on earth and held them in his arms. What a gift! Gift giving is a concept that most kids begin to understand by age 4. When you wrap a present, it is even more exciting for your little one. This provides an opportunity to teach your child to express gratitude after receiving a gift.
and blessed them. Words of affirmation can encourage and inspire a young child. Picture a special future for them. Praising her efforts at learning to walk gives her motivation to get up and try again. As your child begins her very first attempts at reading, your encouragement gives her the confidence to keep learning.
Gary Chapman said “When my son was four, he would run to the door and begin climbing up my leg the moment I came home. If I sat down, he was in my lap. His love language was physical touch. My daughter never did that. She would say, “Come into my room, Daddy. I want to show you something.” Quality time was her primary love language. He says you start to see the primary love language around 4.
In a culture that is becoming increasingly apathetic in its attitude toward children, it is especially important for us to learn from the example Jesus set for His disciples in this passage. Perhaps we should ask ourselves some questions like: Do I find myself becoming grieved or filled with righteous anger when I see children abused or ignored? Do I try to make time for the children God puts in my path, in order to demonstrate the grace of God toward them and to be a blessing to them? Do I take time to listen to children when they try to speak to me, or do I have the attitude of so many that “children are to be seen and not heard”? Do I seek ways to show genuine affection to my own children and to the children of others?