Valentine’s Day Family Traditions : Part 1
Four years ago I had an idea.
An idea that was a bit spur of the moment; as is obvious by the scrapbook paper patterns used to bring this vision to life. No red hearts, pink stripes or glittered sweethearts were in the craft closet that day.
At the time, I had a 9, 8, 6 and 4 year old. Valentine’s Day was fast approaching and I knew I wanted to begin to create meaningful traditions for our children around this day.
I’ve always had a fond adoration of this celebration most frequently known for expressing love for others; and I wanted to develop in them a similar appreciation.
Normal sibling spats had begun to occur and our children had a propensity for pointing out the faults of their “live in roomies”, rather than dishing out words of encouragement. (Can all the Moms give a collective “Amen?”)
I wanted to work towards switching their perspectives- to help them see more good in each other, to recognize each other as gifts from God and to develop a sense of comradery. AND I also wanted to create a tradition of showering one another with words of affirmation.
So, I grabbed a stack of 12×12 paper (that stash I have in case I ever find time to scrapbook again), constructed two large hearts for every family member, applied a little glue, punched two holes, laced some twine through each and added name tags. I stuffed a stack of bright white index cards into the nearest cute container and called the children into the dining room for the big “unveiling.”
As they trickled in one by one, I carefully hung their respective heart in the window, showing that they each contained a pocket that we would soon begin filling with blessings.
It was like a covert mission, I told them: “Slip in as quiet as a mouse, write a note of kindness and drop it into a heart for someone in our family.”
This added element of secrecy made the buy-in pretty easy!
For sure, it was an idea quickly executed- but I knew if it stuck, it could deeply impact the hearts of my children.
Proverbs 16:24 says,
Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. NLT
Oh how I love that passage of Scripture and the visual image it helps me share with my children. All 4 of them can resonate with the sweetness of honey to their lips. They can watch the golden yellowy syrup oozing from the container, so thick and sticky. And they can begin to see how their words can have the same qualities. A simple gesture of a handwritten or spoken word can indeed sweeten someone’s day. As these positive and kind thoughts come out, they seep into the recipient’s heart; blessing and encouraging their very souls.
So, we watched and we waited, to see if this would stick.
And it did.
I would catch my littles at the table writing and my heart would nearly explode. They made their way in and out of the dining room more times than I could count, slipping those simple 4×6 cards into the hanging hearts. Before long, the pockets were bursting at the seams with kindness and blessings.
Then, on Valentine’s Day they finally got to taste the sweetness of those words.
You could almost sense the fullness of their hearts, just by gazing into their sparkling eyes.
And that’s when I knew- this was a tradition that would be around for a very long time.
Now, my children are 13, 12, 10 and 8. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, they’ve already asked for those same hearts to be hung up again.
I thought by now I would have made a newer, cuter version…but I just can’t.
These 6 hearts have become just as much of the tradition, as the words that will soon fill them.
In fact, I’m already counting down the days until we’ll sit around the table- reading, reflecting and rejoicing in words that are as sweet as honey!