By Debra Hane
I remember as a child learning how to cut out hearts to make handmade valentines. I grew up understanding Valentine’s Day was a time to express our love and care for one another. I don’t know what Valentine’s Day means to you, but I’d like to suggest a few ways you can use this time to encourage children to express their love for God and others.
A Love Gift
One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is the assurance that they are loved. Doing something special for a child is one way to say I love you! But it’s also reassuring for kids to often hear you tell them you love them and show you care by spending time together and listening to what they have to say. Make the most of Valentine’s Day by planning a special way to express your love. You can also tell them about why we celebrate Valentine’s Day.
The Origins of V-Day
About two hundred years after Jesus lived on the earth, the Roman Empire was one of the biggest kingdoms in the world. Many of its laws were against God, and people were told they had to worship Roman idols. But a man named Valentine lived to honor God. When he was arrested and brought before the emperor, Valentine bravely shared about the love of Jesus, although he knew it would cost him his life. He was killed for his faith on February 14th. We celebrate Valentine’s Day in honor of him and remembrance of his love for God and others. You can share this true story with kids and encourage them to be known for their love for God and others.
Feeling Left Out
I remember making a special box each year in elementary school to collect Valentine’s Day cards. We were expected to bring a valentine for every kid in our class so no one would feel left out. It’s devastating for kids to feel left out. Valentine’s Day is a great time to talk with kids about showing love to everyone. That doesn’t mean they have to be everyone’s best friend, but they can treat everyone with kindness. Remind kids that God’s love is for everyone. They can ask God to help them show His lovingkindness to kids who are mean to them and to kids who are considered outcasts. They should treat others the way they would like to be treated.
Who Should We Think About?
It’s natural for children to think about themselves—what they want and what they get. But you can help kids learn how to think about others. For example, as Valentine’s Day approaches, talk with kids about who they can show love and care to and how. They can think about others in their family, neighbors, or someone from church. Maybe they can make homemade valentines, bake cookies or some other treat to give, or do some act of service. One year my kids made heart cookies and a homemade valentine to deliver to an elderly widow next door and spent a little time talking with her. Her joy was obvious.
Sometimes, a little effort can bring great joy. Many people live alone, maybe they’re unable to get out, or they may live in a nursing home. When you remember them on Valentine’s Day, you can share God’s love and bring great joy. You can help kids make and deliver valentines to them. Talk about some things they can say as they hand out their valentines, such as, “God loves you,” or “You’re special to God.” They can ask, “Did you ever make valentine cards?” or “Do you have a special valentine?” Let kids know it’s okay to talk about loved ones who have died. Remind them, when they believe in Jesus, they can know God is always with them and His love for them will never end.
Will you make the most of Valentine’s Day this year by planning something special to express your love and care to the kids in your life? And don’t forget, this is also a great time to teach kids how they can express their love and care to others?
I encourage you to take advantage of these ideas you heard today. To reference these ideas, you can read the article “Valentine’s Day” at cefonline.com.
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