Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Your Valentine’s Day memories

When I was a wee little girl, my mother taught me to fold red paper in half to cut a symmetrical heart shape. Then she showed me how to add a white paper doily to make it into a Valentine—probably for my grandparents or the neighbors across the street—and more likely than not, the glue we used was a flour-and-water mixture.

(Just as I was getting ready to post this, I ran across this Valentine my mother and I made together in 1953.)

To this day, I consider hand-made Valentines superior to store-bought ones, thanks to my mother’s joy in making them with me.

What are your earliest Valentine’s Day memories?

Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day in elementary school? If so, what was your party like?

My classmates and I decorated our own folder-like containers and our teacher tacked them on the walls around the room. When the party began, we milled around the room slipping Valentines into each others’ folders.  

Did you make your Valentines or buy them ready-made from the store? Was buying them a financial hardship for your family or for one of your classmates? If so, what did you, or they, do about it?

Did you choose a special Valentine for the classmate you had a crush on?

If you could live a particular Valentine’s Day over again, how would you live it differently?

Was there a child in your class that no one liked? Did you or your friends refuse to give him or her a Valentine? Did your teacher or parents intervene? What did you learn from this?

Maybe you were the child no one liked and you got only a few Valentines. How did that make you feel? What did it teach you? What or who encouraged and sustained you during those years? How did that experience shape who you are today?

What Bible verses could you share to encourage someone in a similar situation? I think of Nehemiah 4 in which Nehemiah and the people of Judah cried out, “Oh, God, these people despise us!”

Despite constant threats against them by the Samaritans, the people kept working hard at their daily tasks, praying all the time, and Nehemiah stood before them and said, “Don’t be afraid of them! Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome!” And so, under Nehemiah’s leadership and with faith in God, they persevered in carrying out their daily duties.

Take a few days to relive Valentine’s Days of your childhood. Reflect, ponder, examine.

Get inside your story—dig deep to discover lessons or blessings you might not have recognized at the time.

When you write your vignettes, ask yourself what values you want to hand down: thoughtfulness, generosity, wisdom, fairness, creativity, or how to live without regrets.

Your stories are important.

Who knows? Years from now, perhaps someone reading your story will be the one people don’t like, the one who feels despised, like the people of Judah. The one that struggles to keep going to school day after day. The one who needs to hear, “Don’t be afraid of them! Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome!” The one that desperately needs courage to face another painful Valentine’s Day.

Write your Valentine’s Day stories!

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