This is my annual reminder to parents to help their children navigate the meaning and purpose of Valentine’s Day on a developmentally appropriate basis. We need to stand our ground and avoid the peer pressure put on us and our children to overdo this day. Media and other invasions in our lives have redefined and added to the simple “friendship” emphasis for children and clouded it with an emotional component. The language used around this time of year can be very confusing. Let’s walk alongside them and help our children keep it light and fun.
Since creation, there has been a very natural physical attraction between boys and girls and men and women. Genesis 2:18 (NLT): “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.’” Physical attraction between the opposite sexes has no respecter of age and Valentine’s Day can make things very confusing and uncomfortable because of the emphasis on love and intimacy. Keeping it real for our children is imperative. What we allow them to do with Valentine’s must be age-appropriate. We don’t want to tease our children or overdue the emphasis on love.
The idea of love for our young children should be in the framework of family bonds. Choose gifts that are lighthearted and friendship based. We have watered down the word love with its many meanings and uses. There is brotherly love, friend love, empathetic love, passionate love, and God’s unconditional love. We love chocolate, Hallmark movies, and each other. Children can’t discern the differences until they have experienced life more. Let’s help our children keep this holiday and all its hoopla very basic.
There is an appropriate way to celebrate based on age and relationship. As young children go shopping for their cards to exchange, be sure to keep the message on a friendship level and not too heavy. Ideally find scripture based cards your children can use with their friends that speaks of God’s love. Make sure the wording is age and friend appropriate. Texting has given young people the license to say things to each other that they have no idea what it means. Remind them that hugs and kisses are for family members only until they are much older.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (NLT)
Paul establishes in this text that love is the greatest thing, but it is required of one to “grow up” to reason through it. Celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family and remind your children of your love for them and also of God’s Love.