A Heart for Service…Re-Directing Valentines Values

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Valentine's Game Ideas for KidsAs adults, we tend to approach the Hallmark holiday of hearts with mixed emotions, depending perhaps upon age, gender, relationship status, or past experiences…for kids, Valentine’s Day bears connotations of fun cards and plenty of extra sugar consumption. There is nothing necessarily wrong with all of this, of course…but why not re-direct the focus of the holiday? Rather than romantic mush, perhaps we could teach our students to think of love in terms of Agape, loving others as we love ourselves, loving them as God does. To this end, there are many opportunities for outreach and service that you can encourage students to participate in and really make a difference in the lives of others. After all, according to many legends the original St. Valentine for whom the holiday is named was a martyr who performed all sorts of services for people, not just romantic ones. Let’s honor and celebrate that, and if chocolate is still involved no harm there. J
For younger students, service activities can be as close as doing special things for family members. Young students can make cards for parents and siblings, create coupons for chores, or do things in secret that will make people smile. Youngsters can also help kids in need around them:

  • Make cards and pictures for hospital patients
  • Adopt a missionary to pray for and take a picture of the students
  • Collect change for a special cause
  • Hold a can drive for local needy

Older students can sometimes get even more hands-on with things. Along with the above suggestions, upper grade kids (with more reading and writing skill) can…

  • Select Bible verses and copy on slips to pass out in and out of church
  • Make a card for someone who just might need extra encouragement
  • Adopt a senior citizen and give or send them something special
  • Make a treat or meal for a shut-in or homeless shelter
  • Write a special note and find a stranger who seems to need their day brightened. Deliver and pray for the recipient
  • Do a random and anonymous deed of kindness in home or community

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.      -Colossians 3:23-24
The important thing is to remember why we do these things. Erotic love usually acts out of selfish and temporary ambition. Godly love does things for the sake of the Creator who bestowed it in the first place. By setting an example and early habit for children, they can learn to act selflessly and enjoy doing it.

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