I am not a big fan of Valentines Day. There, I said it. It may be an unpopular position but, I just get a little irked at the commercial marketing of the whole thing and the emphasis on doing something out of obligation rather than from the heart. Some will say that Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to spend at least one day out of our busy lives to focus on celebrating the one’s we love, to take time to be thoughtful and romantic. But, the endless pajama and giant teddy bear advertisements and the overpriced flowers are not thoughtful or romantic to me. In fact, they annoy me endlessly. If I am being honest, I could probably knock myself unconscious with my eye rolling at those commercials. But, that’s just me. Or maybe it is because Valentine’s Day is always near the date when pitchers and catchers report. As the wife of a retired Major League Baseball player and current professional coach, this holiday alway signals the beginning of “single parent” mode for baseball season. Bummed.
Now, before you start feeling sorry for my husband and my kids, who you are probably thinking get the shaft on this day, I have learned to embrace the holiday in less commercial ways. We will spend this Valentine’s Day running a 10K together, attending 3 of our children’s basketball games and then piling mounds of pink mashed potatoes next to heart shaped mini meatloaves as we pass love notes that have been carefully written, or drawn if you are under the handwriting age, around the table. Another busy day. Very Romantic and chic wouldn’t you agree?
But, the main reason Valentine’s Day just doesn’t offer a whole lot for me is that I think one day just isn’t enough! I think it is more important to learn how to live a lifestyle of gratitude, appreciation, and love for others. Love is such an important value we can teach and model to our children. Research shows that time spent doing “The Little Things” everyday, make up the big things overtime. The little things increase affection, connection, and belonging in our relationships. And there are opportunities to express love in the little things we do every day, even if you are crazy-busy like our family!
Show and Speak Appreciation
As we open our eyes to the good things that are gong on around us it helps us feel more positive about our family, friends, jobs, etc. But, when we speak those positive feelings, something transformative happens for people. They feel valued, appreciated, and loved. When we share words of affirmation to our spouses like, “I see how hard you work for our family and I want you to know I appreciate you,” it is like setting off a million fireworks in their soul! Everyone wants to know that their hard work is noticed and valued by those they love and care for. Similarly, when our children hear us pour kindness and compliments over them, they think more highly of themselves and in turn are more likely to respond to others that way. There may just be something to that old saying, “You are what you think.”
Know What Matters
People feel the most loved when they know that the people they are in relationship with care about what matters to them. If your spouse enjoys having her hand held or an arm around her, learn how to meet that need for her. If your husband enjoys fishing or golf and invites you to go with him, go. Even if you think you have more important things to do, it is important to set aside time when you can to do things that matter to them. When your daughter has a story to tell you as you are walking out of her room exhausted, turn toward her, snuggle up in bed and embrace her story. She will feel loved and valued that you think what she has to say is important. This equals love.
Love Is Spelled T-I-M-E
In my world, which I am guessing is a lot like yours, it is rather easy to be busy. Many, many, many, did I mention, many, days I desperately can’t wait until our four littles are asleep so I can relax. It is just the truth. Work, school, homework, travel schedules, sports schedules, they all drain a lot out of me and truthfully, I wish I had a day off every week. This is when I know there are too many tasks that are overwhelming my soul and flooding the once open spaces of my life. We need to learn how to forego some good things in order to allow room for the best. These “bests” will look different for every family but, they will all strengthen your family. Family dinner, game night, “forced family fun” like outings to the park, a bike ride, or a trip to the ice cream shop in your pajamas are memories you are carving in the hearts of your loved ones. These are the cherished things of life. The simple acts of love that establish bonds of love and connection.
May I challenge you this Valentine’s Day to make it a priority to do the little things everyday. These, as they say, are truly the big things.
Happy Valentine’s Day! (Ugh, that hurt.) Until next time, be positive, patient, and persistent!
For more insightful posts from Brooke, please check out the following Real IronDAD posts: