Last year at Valentine’s Day, I posted a comment on my Facebook page about how disappointed I was that not too many kids give handmade Valentine’s cards anymore. Levi was in still in preschool and I was so disheartened by all of the cartoon/super hero-laden, store bought cards that he received. It made me sad, really, to think that this had become the way that kids were showing their “love” for their friends. Granted, many of the cards were hand- signed and that did take some effort on the child’s part, but overall it was the commercialized message that got me down. To me, I felt that the message being conveyed to our kids is: Love=cartoon characters and Giving = buying from the store.
I received quite a bit of (gentle) backlash for my comment, but it still didn’t change my mind. I understand that many parents work full-time and it can be hard to find the time to craft with your children or that some kids just may not be the crafty type. But I still feel that if we make it a priority to bring a little bit of handmade giving into our children’s lives, they are going to have a much greater appreciation for gratitude, because they gave of themselves and from their hearts. If started ahead of time, it really can turn into a fun way to spend time together as a family. Besides, the cards don’t have to be fancy…a simple cut-out heart with some stickers on it may be all it takes for some kiddos to feel accomplished.
So, imagine my delight when I received Levi’s weekly classroom newsletter from his Kindergarten teacher regarding Valentine’s Day. (I think I danced a little happy dance.) In the spirit of our school and your child’s imagination, I ask for the Valentine’s to be homemade. “Homemade,” means leaving the commercial versions on the store shelves and going for it with paper and glue. Please do not include any candy, cookies, or other sweets in the creations. Your child might need a few “sessions” to create these cards, as there are a lot to make. (Please include a few “extras” just in case some of them rip or break. We have 20 children in the class.) Starting early can make this project the fun it is meant to be. This is a joyful, traditional experience for the children- simple gestures of receiving and giving friendship. Yes! Simple gestures of receiving and giving friendship. I couldn’t agree more!!!
So today, we brought our markers, scissors, glue, stickers, paper and pencils to the dining room table and spread out. Calvin was happy just to cut and glue paper, which gave Michael and I time to cut out the heart shapes for Levi to decorate. We talked about who we were making them for, going down the mental list of all the names of his classmates. After about 30 minutes he was ready to move on to working on a different project, which was fine. There are still a few weeks before they have to be done, so when he’s ready to work on some more, we’ll pick up where we left off. It was a fun time around the table today with my boys. It definitely filled me up to share the spirit of spreading love with them and I hope that these are some of the childhood memories they will look back on one day with fondness and appreciation.