Each year on Valentine’s Day, my mother bought me something small and memorable. In the fourth grade, she bought me a small teddy bear. As an adult, she continued the tradition. When I worked as a business reporter in New York State, she shipped me a box of chocolate-covered fruits from our hometown of Pittsburgh.
As a child, long before I became acquainted with the notion that Valentine’s Day was reserved for romantic love, I thought it was just for love. Specifically, I thought it was a special day that parents used to express gratitude to their children, similar to other special occasions, like birthdays or holidays, like Christmas.
My experiences with Valentine’s Day shapes how I express my love to my daughter.
As my daughter discusses what she wants to pass out to her classmates–and her options include an assortment of stickers and cards–I am thinking about a gift, or an act of love I can show her.
Parents, buy a Valentine’s Day gift for your child. Getting a gift for your child can be something very small, but extremely special. It can be something tangible, like a teddy bear or chocolate-covered fruits, or, it can be intangible, like an experience, like gazing at the moon.
Also, by no means are Valentine’s Day gifts required to be expensive. They can be as affordable or as costly as you’d like. Or, they can be free, like gazing at the moon, or making cookies, or writing a poem and telling your child how much you love them and why.
Long before children grow up to develop romantic love, they should be showered in the unconditional love that parents show them. Through these actions, they will become loving adults.
Jamar Thrasher, a Pennsylvania-based writer who often writes about youth issues, is the owner of Kennedy Blue Communications, a PR firm which focuses on youth organizations and youth initiatives. His work has appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PennLive and the New Pittsburgh Courier. He lives with his young daughter, Kennedy.