Love is a verb

2012-02-09 00:00

PARENTING and education are not all about doing the right thing and getting our discipline just right, often they are simply about enjoying each other’s company and creating memories. We can tell our children we love them. We can demonstrate that we love them. But nothing speaks as loud as simply living out love with them and this often occurs by simply having fun together.

With Valentine’s Day popping its head around the corner we are presented with so many creative and exciting ways to celebrate real love with our children. Over the generations Valentine’s Day has become an exclusively romantic celebration, when in fact it provides the ideal opportunity for us to celebrate real love and demonstrate that love to our children.

Spend some time thinking through your day on February 14 and what little moments you can snatch up to woo and love your children. Some suggestions may be to decorate the breakfast table with hearts and flowers the night before and then get up that little bit earlier and pop some scones in the oven for breakfast (or buy some yummy muffins). Candles go really far to create a special ambiance that even our children will appreciate. Have little paper hearts on the table with each person’s name on them. During the day every family member needs to write something they love about that person on their heart so that they can be distributed at dinner time.

With younger children you may want to build up to the day so that they know what it is all about. You can make crowns for them to wear with hearts upon them and laminate placemats onto which they have stuck hearts or drawn a picture of the family having a fun time together.

If the morning is a rush there is still the evening in which to do something special together. You may want to have a special meal or as a family choose someone who you feel needs to be loved to share dinner with you. Simply spend some time doing something fun and different together. Have a picnic supper in the garden, play a game together, go for a walk, pop secret notes into each lunch box or place beside each of your children’s beds a rose with a handwritten love note. The ideas are endless. They do all take time but that’s part of loving one another — the fact that we take time to do it.

Valentine’s Day provides us with not only opportunities to love our own family, but to let our children demonstrate love for others. Children often feel that the world is all about them. Yes, they are aware of others and that they need to care for them, but it’s seldom that we provide opportunities for them to do this and grow in their love for others. Valentine’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to do just that. You may not be able to do anything on Valentine’s Day owing to work and school commitments but there is always the weekend. A few ideas would be to make cards to drop off at an old-age home, take a cake to an orphanage, make cupcakes and cards and drop them off with librarians, police officers or firemen. A child could make special cards for their teachers and friends.

By simply taking a few moments out of our busy schedules to make a day special or different for our families we are speaking volumes. We often forget that concepts such as “love” are actually verbs and that our children can only truly learn about them by seeing them in action. • Joanne Madgwick is a parenting and educational consultant. Inquiries:

• Visit or contact me at joanne.madgwick@


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