Ah-ha! Teaching Teens Emotional Fluency
by Paige Haley Drygas
The first season I coached high school girls’ soccer, I felt disappointed by our captains. Why weren’t they better leaders? Two charming, talented girls who had some natural leadership abilities yet fumbled through the season as leaders. It finally dawned on me, late in the season, that although these girls had some innate leadership abilities, they’d never been trained to lead. Ah-ha! And so began our leadership training sessions—hours I invested teaching these girls the practical skills of leading a team. The results were eye-opening. With explicit training on how to lead intentionally, girls with raw, natural leadership potential developed into savvy, effective team leaders.
Isn’t that true in many areas of our lives? We have some raw ability—but with training, we can become so much more. It’s certainly true in our emotional lives. We have some natural emotional fluency—but we can be taught! We don’t have to learn everything the hard way in life.
Enter 5 Love Languages. Years ago, Dr. Gary Chapman pioneered this simple, brilliant concept of the five love languages—and ten million copies later, it’s still resonating with people. Here’s the premise: All of us want to be known and loved. That’s universal. However, how we want to be loved is unique to each of us.
Each of us has a primary love language that makes us feel particularly known and loved. As a quick refresher (or a mile-high overview), the five love languages are
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
In order to communicate love to others, we have to speak love in their native language—not our own.
Picture the teens you know. These no-longer-kids, not-quite-adults feel things deeply, yet they aren’t all emotionally fluent. Teens have serious vested interest in learning and applying the 5 Love Languages. Think about this in fast-forward through life. By learning the 5 Love Languages now, teens will have
• tighter bonds with their friends;
• better communication with their parents;
• closer relationships with their siblings;
• dating relationships with less drama and awkwardness;
• a healthier marriage someday;
• a clearer understanding of interpersonal dynamics and human motivation.
And they’ll save themselves loads of conflict, dysfunction, grief and stress.
This is the heart of the 5 Love Languages book for teens. It’s written for teens, in an accessible style, adapting those profound 5 Love Languages concepts Dr. Chapman created into everyday teen language. And the chapters are filled with stories that bring the 5 Love Languages concepts to life.
In the pages of this book, teens will read stories of other teens’ relationships, clear explanations of the 5 Love Languages, practical applications within relationships, reflection questions to help them personalize the content, and a quiz to help them discover their own primary love language. Not bad for a book shorter than Harry Potter.
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