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21 July 2010
Often, we are so caught up in our hectic lives that we unintentionally neglect our loved ones and forget to show how much we appreciate them. The Salvation Army identified this as one of the challenges many individuals face today and hence, organised a session to help volunteers learn more how they can better relate to their loved ones.
The workshop, entitled “5 Love Languages – Family Life Education and Personal Development”, was held on the evening of 29th June at The Salvation Army Territorial Headquarters, the second in a series of volunteer appreciation events that The Salvation Army is organising for its volunteers, in partnership with the Bishan Chinese Corps. The first was a talk on energy conservation given in partnership with the National Environment Agency in January 2010.
“It’s our little way of saying thank you by investing in our volunteers’ lives just as they have invested in our beneficiaries’,” explained James Lim, The Salvation Army’s Volunteer Resources Manager. It has been challenging, however, coming up with ideas for such sessions, he admitted. After a quick poll with volunteers, family and personal development were identified as some of the areas in which volunteers were interested to be trained, in addition to other capacity building courses and events that might help volunteers perform their roles better.
Esther Lee, a family life educator, was the speaker at the workshop. She hoped that participants would realise the importance of the use of “affirmative, positive language” to express their love for others and hence, build “strong, meaningful relationships”. When asked about how the evening’s event differed from those she usually conducts for schools and other organisations, she replied that the latter are typically tailored to emphasis family or group dynamics, whereas the former was catered to “adult learners who are willing to be equipped with skills so as to reach out to the community in a meaningful, positive and constructive way”.
Esther began the evening by playing two videos of Dr Gary Chapman (whose work the whole session was centred on) explaining the 7 common traits he identified in people described as “loving” – kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generosity and honesty – which she went on to reinforce with anecdotes. She continued by expounding the 5 Love Languages – words, time, gift, service and touch – before dividing the participants into small groups for sharing. The highlight of the workshop came when Esther tallied the results of the 5 Love Languages questionnaire, which the participants had completed, and taught them to analyse what their scores meant about their varying preferences of the 5 Love Languages. The evening concluded with the opportunity for participants to practise communicating in a positive and encouraging manner.
The workshop was very well-received by the participants, who expressed interest in attending a follow-up session. Lui Lee Leng, a member of the Singapore Central Corps, remarked that he now knew “how to approach people” better by choosing the right “timing and method”. Scott Collison, whose wife is a volunteer with The Salvation Army, attended the session with her and felt that he had learnt “small subtle things” such as the “thoughts and perspective” of his wife, “better ways of communicating with others and the importance of body language”.
To quote Esther, “Love is not just a concept or value system. It should be a way of life.”