I received a request from a friend in Florida to send a Valentine’s Day card to her acquaintance, a nine year old boy with autism. He will be receiving a Valentine’s card from me. I know that all children love to receive mail. Children enjoy celebrations of all kinds.
I have been reflecting on children and Valentine’s Day and wholesome celebrations. Family celebrations can help de-romanticize the holiday for children and adolescents. Try focusing on expressing love to others. Perhaps make and send valentines to grandparents or single adults. Homemade decorated heart-shaped sugar cookies are always a hit at home or to share. Having a hand in the process makes them more delicious.
Have you ever studied the history of Valentine’s Day? It is the fascinating and inspiring story of a priest named Valentine who honored marriage and refused to obey a third-century Roman law to stop performing weddings. Adventures in Odyssey, album number 44: Eugene Returns, an audio series from Focus on the Family did an outstanding job telling this story in the episdode titled “The Last I Do.”
Start your own Valentine’s Day family traditions. Maybe each child could choose an activity which they love and all could participate in it. Perhaps there is something the entire family loves and could establish as a tradition on this holiday. Is there a silly song or movie that could become your family Valentine’s Day standard?
When our daughter was an older teen, the bookstore that employed her sponsored a Fernando Ortega concert at which she was asked to work. Initially, she was a bit bummed at having to work on Valentine’s Day. At home after work she received flowers and a sweet card from her dad, and candy from mom. She realized that her Valentine’s Day had actually been quite nice because it included a concert, candy, flowers and a card.
When our children were young I found and purchased four red, plastic, heart shaped dishes. Every Valentine’s Day my children enjoyed receiving these dishes filled with candy and maybe a small trinket. They were almost as good as a getting a Christmas stocking six weeks after Christmas.
Romantic love is not the only kind of love to be celebrated. There is also brotherly or familial love. Within the family we all need to experience unconditional love which accepts and forgives even when we disagree or mess up and hurt each other. That is the kind of love God has for each of us.
Happy Valentine’s Day.