Love Language 3: When Money Cannot make a Child Feel important (Quality Time)December 21, 2014
As a child I felt very distant from my father. Strange, because he would often say, “I love you.” For a precious few seconds, he would gather me in his arms and pepper my cheeks with kisses, saying I was his one and only baby girl. Once in a while, he would come home from work with a box of donuts or shiny red apples for dessert.
What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I FEEL loved???
Because we didn’t spend TIME together. And that did not mean him sitting at his desk reading work files (or watching the news on TV), while I played on the floor with the new toys he bought me. I realized now that I needed my dad to focus his attention, talk to me, allow me to ask him questions, etc. It may not have been my dad’s INTENTION, but the lack of regular, undivided attention made me FEEL unimportant.
Papa took the burden to provide for his family VERY seriously. He did not want us to live like he did, shining shoes on a street corner to earn his lunch money. He was similar to Andy Rindy (who gave his wife GIFTS). Unfortunately I was NOT like Andy’s wife Sandy (whose top love language is GIFTS).
Entering my teens, the wall between us felt very thick. Papa’s kisses and words became mundane to me. We were civil, pleasant, but disconnected. He did not FULLY KNOW me (my good, AND BAD sides), and neither did I know him. Only then did he start to notice the distance between us, and silently took steps to remedy his mistake.
A little before my high school graduation, HE RESIGNED from his comfortable executive position in a multinational company, and started his own small business. Starting his own business meant MUCH LESS financial security than being an employee. But it also meant that he dictated his own work hours. He chose a road that was less certain because he was determined to spend more time with us.
And that’s what he did. He was able to pick me up from school, do the groceries with my mother, and when we woke up in the morning, he was actually home to join us for breakfast! It took years, and BOTH of us had to make an effort, but I honor my Papa for taking that important FIRST STEP in mending our relationship. He did his best to give us precious quality time, one of the love languages that made me FEEL loved.
Like my wife’s story, I am like many other children who were showered with valuable GIFTS and yet unconsciously yearned for QUALITY TIME.
If your child/friend/wife’s top love language is QUALITY TIME, GIFTS(even EXPENSIVE ones) won’t be enough to make them feel loved and connected to us. The strange pattern is: a lot of parents believe that a car or other expensive gifts can MAKE UP for NOT being there for the child(quality time).
Although short-term, this seems to be good, but I have yet to see a family happy in the long-run (Heavy in GIFTS with very little QUALITY TIME).
Once in a provincial airport, a Filipina with an expensive luxury bag started a conversation with me while waiting for the plane to arrive. She was tired and frustrated. Her daughter doesn’t listen to her.
I asked her, “How long have you been a nurse in Europe?” She said, “18 years.”
“You must earn very well,” I answered. She nodded.
“But my daughter ONLY LISTENS TO HER FATHER(who lives with her in the province).”
I shut up. “Of course she will”, I thought. Quality time means love. And love makes us follow and love back. Sadly, the EXPENSIVE GIFTS and MONEY FROM EUROPE have not produced much LOVE in her daughter the past 18 years.
We can still make up for lost time. Besides GIFTS, let’s give our best QUALITY TIME to our most valued relationships ?