The emphasis on Valentine’s Day and the language used around it can be very confusing for our children. Parents must help their children navigate this holiday and keep it real. Since creation, there has been a very natural physical attraction between boys and girls, and men and women. As stated in 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 is 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 do with Valentine’s Day must be age-appropriate. We don’t want to tease 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.
The word love has many meanings and uses. There is brotherly love, friend love, empathetic love, passionate love, and God’s unconditional love. Children can’t discern the differences until they have experienced life more. The language used in advertising and media can be very confusing. We live in a day and time that has watered down the word love. The same word is used to express our affection toward chocolate, another person, or about the Lord.
As parents we want to 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 friendly 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 older. The apostle Paul explains the seriousness of love in 1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (NLT):
“11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 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. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
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, for as we know from 1 John 4:19 (NLT), “We love each other because He loved us first.”