Happy February Friends! I hope you are having a great month! I have a like and dislike for the month of February. On the one hand, I love the fact that we take a day to honor and show the people we love that they are special to us, and on the other hand I am not so sure I always agree with the “how” of those actions. Let me start with one of my dislikes from a kid and adult perspective and hopefully I can give you a few pointers on how to make this not just another holiday, but a teachable moment to share a little wisdom on love from the Bible with your kids.
Valentine’s Day Cards: No, I am not against giving Valentine’s Day cards! I promise I am not. I love getting cards as much as the next girl, but I am against determining my worth by how many I get or from who I get them. As a married adult I obviously would only expect one from my dear husband Ken, however what if he does not give me one? What if he does, but the words don’t seem genuine, mushy enough or thoughtful enough. Truthfully, Ken is not into giving cards and after 25 years of marriage I am okay with that. He shows his love to me in other ways.
Comparison: Early in our marriage I spent a lot of time comparing! It was a huge mistake and I would even tell my husband what the other men had done for their wives on the day. This did not benefit him. This did not build him up and I am pretty confident that this did not add to his great love for me. I had basically taken it upon myself to declare February 14th as the ONE day Ken had to truly show me how much he loved me. How ridiculous is that? Big mistake ladies! Don’t try that at home. It never renders a full satisfaction. After you pout or have your fit then when they give you a gift the following year, you wonder if it was just because they did not want to get into trouble. Truthfully, it probably is.
Kids and Love: So how does this relate to kids and why would I bring this up? Well, many of your Elementary girls are already very much noticing the boys in their classes. They are already wondering if they will get a valentine from them or if they should give one to the boy. They are contemplating what to write on their card. They are wondering if they are “good enough”, “pretty enough”, simply “enough” to get that boy or any boy’s attention. They are already comparing themselves to the other girls because of what they see and hear in our society. What about the boys, you ask? Some are already noticing the girls, but many have no clue that the girls will literally cry or feel less worthy by the fact that they did not put the “perfect” valentine in their box. At this point, many of those boys are just hoping they get lots of candy or items that they can immediately ingest. This is a critical time to help your child (especially your girls) know that their full identity and worth is in Christ and that we have been given the greatest gift of love through Christ who came to the cross for us! You have an opportunity this month to put in a few nuggets of wisdom from the Word to help your children know the true meaning of love and to help them stay focused on the truth in an otherwise very self-centered and self-gaining world.
So how can I do that you ask? Here a few suggestions to help you throw in a few Bible memory makers this month.
- Make time for God’s Word: Okay, this is going to sound like a pitch and it probably somewhat is, but be sure to pick up your One Focus family kits at church. God’s greatest commandment in Matthew 22:36-40 was to ‘love Him with all our heart, soul and mind’ and his second commandment was to ‘Love our neighbor as ourselves.’ What better way to start living that commandment than to (as a family) start learning how we can share His love with others in a practical way. Love your kids enough (and I know you do) to make time to complete these short family devotions. God’s Word will remind your children of how they can show love to others and at the same time it will remind them they are loved by Him. They are worthy because they are made in His image. God’s Word is powerful and when you take time to dive into it, it can transform and protect you.
- Notes of encouragement: Leave them notes in places that they may or may not expect. For example, write a Bible verse that makes you think of them on their mirror so they see it in the morning such as Philippians 1:3…. “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” NLT. Write them an acrostic love note. For example, take each letter of their name and write something awesome about them that you respect or notice. Put notes in their lunch box, show, etc. Get creative!
- Acts of Service: Since it is February and the weather is great, why not take some time to go and help those in need. Possibly help rake leaves at someone’s home, pass out blessing bags to the homeless (click here for more info) or make homemade valentine cards for people in your family or neighborhood! See, I really do like cards! Simply, keep your kids focus on how you as a family can show love to others not only this month, but every month.
- Real Conversations: If you have a girl in Elementary she may have started noticing the boys already. As she gets older you will want her to WANT to talk to you. My daughter Amber is now 22 and we have had many Starbucks dates, Sonic runs and car talks on boys. I am thankful that someone told me when I was a young Mom to always keep those lines of communication open. Don’t be afraid to open the conversation with your girl about if they like a boy, etc. When you do, it is never too early to start helping your daughter recognize what qualities are important in a boy. Does she think it is important that he loves God, that he treats others kind? You can easily ask your daughter how he treats others or if he goes to church and this starts helping her form and know that these are important qualities.
Maybe February is a great month (since the setting is right) to take your family on a journey of rediscovering God’s love for each of you, determining how you can best share that love as a family or simply opening up those lines of communication on love. Have a great month!