Have you told your family lately that you love them?
Was it a casual “I love you” you drop on the way out of the door in the morning or a quick, hurried “Lov’ you” at the end of a phone conversation?
Do you take the time to say “I love you” like you mean it?
A few years ago I was reading an article discussing the role of praise in children’s art. “Great job!” and “That’s the best piece of artwork ever!” were considered bad moves because they were too general and decreased a sense of accomplishment and motivation. Instead, parents were encouraged to mete out a specific praise like, “I love how you used color blue in your painting.”
But isn’t it the same with “I love you” I thought. When it’s too general “I love you” often seems meaningless on par with “See you later” and “call you later.”
What do we really mean when we say “I love you” to our family members from the bottom of our hearts?
Probably, “I love you for being here because without you a piece would be missing in my heart.”
Or “I love you because there has never been and there will never be another person like you and I’m so lucky to have you in my life.”
And “I love you for your smiles. When I see you smile, I can’t help smiling too.”
Perhaps “I love you for your stories because I have never looked at the world that way before.”
“I love you because every day spend with you is a day worth living for.”
When we make an effort not to finish a sentence after “I love you” but really build upon it, it acquires depth and meaning. And if it can be turned into a game, even better!
We have been playing this game on Valentine’s game for a few years now and it became a lovely family tradition. In fact, ever since this game was invented when I put together a yearly Shutterfly book and ask kids what family activity they enjoyed most, they always say Valentine’s Game. (I swear we do lots of other fun things together besides this game).
Valentine’s Day Game – I Love You For …
What to do
For a few weeks preceding the Valentine’s Day, all family members are encouraged to write down (and the kids who can’t write can dictate to you) “I love you for…” notes to each family member. Write as much as you can. The photo below is from the previous year when we were a family of five.
Notes don’t say who is the author or who it is addressed to!
The fun comes from guessing!
Our animals are included in the game. That’s how we end up with notes like, “I love you for sniffing my butt.” Who can it be addressed to? Hmm.. Dog, of course! You still need to guess who wrote it.
Don’t forget to place a cute container in a prominent place for a few weeks prior to the holiday. Next, to its place some colorful post-its/ notebook and pencils/pens. If the kids love it, they will use it. Last year we used Valentine’s Day truck (a papercraft from Oriental Trading Company).
This year I was cleaning up my Scrapbook closet and came upon a stack of Valentine’s Day paper. We found two suitable containers in our recycling bin and decorated them. We put one in the kitchen and another on the bedroom floor. The more containers, the more love notes.
As you can imagine, little kids enjoy putting the notes in.
When to play
We save the game all the way till after Valentine’s Day dinner. Then we read each message, in turn, guessing who it was about and who wrote it. Laughing like crazy. And laughing together is always a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!
This Valentine’s Game will inspire you to stop and think about all the wonderful things that you find special about each other.
What is your favorite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?