Friday, February 10, 2012

Coloring "love" for our children: A Valentines Day tradition

My dad always bought little valentines gifts for my sister and me. I guess he thought the holiday of love was a time to express his love to ALL the girls in his life, not just our mom.  So he'd buy us candy, or a little stuffed bear or something.  Sometimes he'd write a little poem or card too. I remember this one as one of my favorites: 

Roses are red, 
Violets are purple
Pancakes taste better
With hot maple syrple.
(original poem by my Awesome Dad.)

As I got older, gifts of daddy-love weren't cherished as much as goofy gifts from teenage boys... but he did succeed in adding the concept of real, solid, Father-love to the holiday of silly, sentimental, fluff-love.

So we're trying that in our house, too.

Let me tell you about our Valentines Day Dinner tradition.

our first valentines dinner, 2008

First of all, it's a dinner made by dad for the girls. (Now that the boys are older, they are allowed to help daddy do this kind thing for the girls.)

During the time normally used for dinner-making, I play dress-up with the girls. We put on nail polish and dresses and "make ourselves beautiful" for our fancy dinner. 

(I try to remind myself that it is good to be feminine, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to look pretty and have someone tell you that you are lovely and loved.)

Aggie, 2008, trying to restrain her wiggles and keep sauce off her "wedding dress"

How fancy is the dinner?
Oh, it's fancy.

Spaghetti. Garlic bread. Maybe some cookies or cupcakes. (simple food = more chance we will actually do it.)
Good dishes.
Wine glasses with milk in them.
Perhaps even some soft classical music in the background.

The boys get dressed up "for the girls" too, which is great for pictures:

Last year, we started using this time to chat a little bit about what love is in age appropriate ways: 

Would you marry a prince that was rich but unkind? 
If God doesn't send you a spouse, what might you do differently when you're grown up?
Would you marry someone who was kind and smart 
but always smelled like bacon?

Of course they wonder- what's wrong with smelling like bacon?

I also use this time to remind myself that they ARE growing up.
They need to learn about love because (Lord-willing) they will love.
They were made by God, not for ME, but for love.

May their lives always be filled up--swollen--with love.

God, thank you for these dear children! 

As we celebrate Valentines day with them, we ask Your blessing on them! If it is Your will for them to marry someday, we pray that you would provide for each of them a spouse who blesses them, who will join with them to create a home that springs out of Your love and is filled with it. 

Teach them to love what is lovely, to praise what is truly beautiful,and to always look to You for wisdom in matters of the heart.

Thank you for these Valentines days with little ones, when relationships are simple, when they are glad to celebrate with just their family. Let the girls always remember that love is like what they received from their daddy when then were little. Let our imperfect example point the boys and the girls toward You, the giver of Life and Love, as we see in Jesus. Amen.

 Good Questions for Valentines Day
start the conversation!

  • Does mom love dad? How do you know?
  • Does dad love mom? How do you know?
  • Look at the brother or sister sitting to your left. Name something about that person that you think their future spouse will like.
  • If Jesus would tell you who you are going to marry some day, would you want to know? What would you ask him about that person?
  • If God would answer one request about your family in the future- what would you ask him?
  • Do you hope your future spouse has lots of money?  Why or why not? Would you marry someone that was rich but unkind?
  • Do you want your future spouse to be kind?  How will you know if he/she is?
  • Would you marry someone that was kind but refused to do any work?  Would you marry someone that was kind but simply could not do work?
  • If God doesn’t send you a spouse, what else might you do when you grow up?
  • Would you marry someone who was kind and smart but always smelled like bacon? Or green beans?
  • Would you marry someone who wants to have 20 children? Would you marry someone who hates children?
  • What would you do if God sends you a spouse that works in another country?
  • What do mom and dad do for fun? What do you think you will do for fun with your spouse?
  • When you are old enough to have a house, what kind of house do you want?
  • Do any of the kids in your class have girlfriends or boyfriends? What do you think about this?
  • Has anyone ever told you that you are pretty or handsome? Do you like when people say this?
  • Do you think your family will be like ours if you have children? How might it be different?
  • Name a gift that mom has that makes her a good mom.
  • Name a gift that day has that makes him a good father.
  • Name a gift that dad has that makes him a good husband.
  • Name a gift that mom has that makes her a good wife.
  • What will you do when you meet someone and you are not sure if they are the one for you?


  1. Awww! I wanted to share this with Luke, but I had to take a couple of deep breaths first (to hold in the tears) before I could get out more than "I want to do this." That is so sweet, and it's something your girls will cherish throughout their lives. I still remember my Grandpa used to buy me a flowering plant every Valentines' Day. Somehow (without knowing that about Grandpa) Luke bought me a plant for our first Valentines' Day. :)

  2. I love LOVE this idea. I might have to steal it ... in a year or two! Thank you for sharing, and for bringing a ray of sunshine to my day.
    -Kate Meadows (I am a friend of Shel Rockhill and Jan Meadows' daughter-in-law. I think you met Jan at a dinner last weekend.)

  3. This is wonderful Emily, Valentine's Day is a great "teaching opportunity". I may be stealing this idea as well!


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