This year, for Valentine’s Day, our family decided to do something a bit different. Instead of focusing on ourselves and gorging on chocolates and candy, we decided to take advantage of all the focus on love and hearts and use it as an opportunity to remind people of the greatest love of all. I think we have all read some amazing ideas for Random Acts of Kindness to do with your kids on Pinterest and blogs and such. I have even seen people participating in “Random Act of Kindness Week” during this time of year. However, I wanted to take things a step further and show love to others because of the love God shows us. (1 John 4:19 We Love Because He First Loved Us.)
Each year, Valentine’s Day seems to become more and more commercialized and everywhere you turn you see paper hearts, chocolate candy and pressure to find true love. During this time of year, my heart breaks for those who are alone- widows, single parents, those who are still longing for a life partner. I wanted those people who are hurting to know that they are cared about and not forgotten. Most of all, I wanted them to know of the love of their Heavenly Father.
After talking it over as a family, we decided that there were a great many ways we could show others God’s love during the month of February. We began by brainstorming different activities that boys felt comfortable doing (Ages 1, 5 and 11). We brainstormed little acts of love that the boys could do in their everyday lives – at school, home and with friends. They came up with ideas ranging from putting away the dishes without being asked to helping a hurt friend by getting the yard duty or drawing a picture for a friend.
Next, we came up with a list of bigger ways we can be intentional about telling others about God’s love. We went through a ton of ideas of “Random Acts of Kindness” on Pinterest, (see my Pinterest Board for ideas) but focused on ways that we could add the element of sharing the truth of God’s love in the midst of it. We added a note with most of the activities we chose that contained our bible verse for the month of February.
Then, each night at dinner for the first 14 days of February, we recorded the ways we showed others God’s love that day by cutting out construction paper hearts and taping them up on our acts of love “wall”. (The bigger hearts were our intentional planned activities, while the little hearts were small ways we were able to love others in the midst of the everyday moments.) The boys loved sharing ways that they found to help people on the playground and around town, and while it put us out of comfort zones, being intentional about sharing God’s love with others was transformative for our family. If you would like, you can download 2 copies of the wall sign here.
I wrote a brief description of the activities we chose and included pictures and a printable note where applicable. However, one idea I wanted to take a moment to highlight below and had the most influence on our family was making “Blessing Bags” as part of our “14 Acts of Sharing God’s Love” Project. Our oldest son has long been expressing his heartache for the homeless and the people he sees holding up signs asking for help. We brainstormed about what we could do when we see people in need and what to do when you hurt for them. (I think so many of us just push away those uncomfortable feelings and I wanted him to understand why he felt that way and how it could prompt him to action.) One solution he came up with was blessing bags. We did some research on Pinterest and from there, he really enjoyed coming up with his own list of what he wanted to include. We even sent out an email asking for donations and for help assembling them on Valentine’s Day.
After we assembled them, we included a note with a verse letting others know that they have not been forgotten and that God still cares about them. Last, we drove around and delivered one or two blessing bags on Valentine’s Day itself. But our main goal was to have the bags in the car at all times, so when we saw someone with a sign, we felt like we could help in some small way.
Sharing God’s Love
Here is the list of the other ways we came up with to show God’s love to the world, even if they don’t have a “Valentine” during the month of February.
Day 1: Valentine Cards for the Elderly
On this day, we made cards and signs for the elderly who reside in assisted living facilities that said things like Happy Valentine’s Day, Jesus Loves You, You are special, cared about etc.
Day 2: Hugs and Kisses Chocolates to Neighbors
The kids loved this one because it involved sneaking around at night in the dark! We put together bags of chocolate “hugs and kisses”, attached a note and delivered them to doorsteps in our neighborhood after dark. If you would like a similar gift tag to surprise your neighbors, all while telling them about never failing love, you can find it here
Day 3: Donate Toys and and Pray for the Children Receiving Them
We are fortunate to have plenty of opportunity to donate used toys and clothes around here. For day 3, we made an effort to pick out some toys out of the boys’ closets and we put them in a box. Then we prayed for the kids that would receive these new toys and attached one of our notes to the box.
Day 4: Donate Books with Homemade Bookmarks
Day 4 also involved donation. The kids and I went through their bookcases and found some books that they
wanted were willing to give away. After we prayed that these kids would know God’s love, the kids made bookmarks and hid them in the books. It was very fun and it included messages of God’s love as well.
Day 5: Mirror Notes
This was one of my favorite ways to try and tell others about God’s love. I made a heart on my computer with a message on it that reminded the viewer that no matter what they looked like when they looked in the mirror, that they were “fearfully and wonderfully made” by their Heavenly Father. (Psalm 134:14) I got to do this one on my own as I just put them in woman’s bathrooms. I also tried to be very intentional about what public bathrooms I picked so the notes might have the most impact. If you would like to print out your own mirror notes, you can find them here
Day 6: Leave Bubbles in the Park
This was one that the kids really enjoyed and felt comfortable doing. We attached the same notes to the bubble bottles and left them in several different parks in the area so that other kids could enjoy them. We put a note on the front that said, “A gift for you” (and the back explained the project) in the hopes that it would be clear that those bubbles were left there on purpose! You can download your own version here I printed out page one on cardstock, flipped it over and printed out the second page on the back. Then I cut it into squares. You could also just print one side.
Day 7: Donating Food to the Food Bank
Day 7 was another donation day and a good opportunity to review Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus tells us to feed and clothe the less fortunate as a way to serve him. We tried to incorporate bible verses and stories as often as we could during these fourteen days.
Day 8: Make Dinner for a Friend
It may take a bit of searching, but each of us has someone who would appreciate a meal made for them! We might not have a sick friend at the moment, but perhaps a frazzled mom or single friend who gets tired of cooking for one.
Day 9: Clip Coupons and Leave at the Store
While I don’t clip coupons on a regular basis, these days we get a lot of coupons when we check out the store. It isn’t hard to go back into the store after you check out and leave those same coupons right next to the item for sale. We attached them to our “A gift for you” card, telling about our project of sharing God’s love. You can download your own version here
Day 10: Redbox Gift Cards
This was one of the kid’s favorites (well, perhaps the one they wanted to keep for themselves the most?!). We printed out an e-certificate from our computer, folded it up and attached the note and taped it to the kiosk. If you want to be anonymous with this, it takes a little bit of stealth work!
Day 11: Make Cookies and Deliver to the Local Community Helpers
We love making Valentine cookies (any excuse to make sugar cookies!) and decided to deliver them to our local fire department and police station. You could also deliver them to your school or doctor’s office.
Day 12: Leave Coloring Books and Crayons in Waiting Rooms
My kids spend a lot of time in waiting rooms at doctor’s offices and in laboratories due to a variety of health issues. So this particular act of love was very close to all of our hearts. We really enjoyed leaving coloring books and crayons in the office (with a note inside!) to give other kids something to do while they waited. There were a ton of options at Target for coloring books. See photo below and download your own set of 6 notes here. You can print them, cut them out and glue them in the front of the books.
Day 13: Delivering Flowers to Single Friends
As I said, my heart hurts for those who are single at Valentine’s Day. Whether someone is a widow, a single parent, divorced or single by choice, I hate the pressure that this holiday puts on us to have this perfect romantic love to celebrate the holiday. I think flowers are a great gift for those single at this time of year and hopefully our note will remind them that they do, indeed, have love!
Day 14: Valentine’s Day: Assembling and Delivering Blessing Bags
I outlined the details above, but I saved this activity for Valentine’s Day so that we could be joined by friends on this day to assemble the bags as sort of a celebration of the culmination of our “14 Acts of Sharing God’s Love” project. It was a lot of effort, but so worth it! And I truly believe that my kids and I really have our eyes opened to ways we can love and serve others on a daily basis now. And I believe that is the best way to really share God’s love with others. If you are interested, you can download your own version of a blessing bag note here
I would love to hear from you and your experiences with Valentine’s Day and the pressure to find love. Would ever go out of your comfort zone and tell others about the chance that they have to find true love through their Heavenly Father? Would you ever move beyond “Random Acts of Kindness” and instead do “14 Acts of Sharing God’s Love”? I think some years we might just do a few of these things on Valentine’s Day itself, since it isn’t really realistic to do such an involved project every year!
Oh and a few notes on all the printables I made you: I worked really hard on anything that is 2 sided to be able to be printed on one side and then re-inserted into the printer and printed on the back. If you notice, the alignment of the graphics is set up that way as well. It worked well for my printer, but I know everyone has a different set up. Your other option is to just print out one side and use that. Hope you are able to use many of the printables I made you, so that you and your family can more easily share God’s love with others during the month of February! Happy Valentine’s Day!