Valentine’s Day is ridiculous.
Well…at least in the commercialization and merchandising sense. Where did this intense pressure to demonstrate our love and affection come from? Why exactly do we scramble for overpriced flowers, mediocre chocolates and last-minute dinner reservations? Does the proof of our love really boil down to what we do/don’t deliver on February 14th? Of course not…but let’s not move for a wholesale dismissal of the day either. Valentine’s Day provides opportunities for dadcraft; here are a few ideas to get you started…
Love your wife. Are flowers and chocolates cliché? Sure, but that fact becomes less obvious when you include your kids in the buying and gifting process to your wife. Go with it and be open to their preferences … even if you end up with the neon-dyed carnations and princess helium balloon from your grocery store. You can’t imagine how thrilled they’ll be to give their Valentine’s Day gifts. Also consider spending some time writing notes and putting together some homemade cards. Inspire them to expand their own language of love for their mom. Help them to wrap words around whatever tangible expression of love they purchase or create. In the process, they’ll begin to grasp the importance of honoring and celebrating their mom.
Love your kids. One of the great things about kids is that – for the most part – they impress easily. Your Valentine’s Day options for them aren’t grandeur or nothing…even a small gift (new coloring book) or treat (ice cream cone) will be special, but don’t give the gift without words (written or verbal). Remind them of how much you love them and get specific – encourage and affirm.
Where the ladies at? Think: the man/men in the house (depending on your male/female breakdown) at their chivalry-est. Flowers are given, a meal is prepared and served, perhaps a song is performed for the female audience or some dancing (ballroom or breakdance – your call) breaks out. In whatever form it takes, find ways to honor and cherish the women in your house.
Time to eat. A special Valentine’s Day meal may seem – for those of us who are culinary challenged – no small feat to pull off, but you got this. If you’re skilled enough to create homemade fettuccine with seared scallops, your dadcraft brothers tip our collective hat to you, sir. If “cooking a meal” calls to mind things like cereal, scrambled eggs, hot dogs, and mac ‘n cheese, take heart…you’re still in business. Just get a little creative in presentation (perhaps your hot dogs are sliced and arranged artistically with various dipping bowls of condiments) and make sure your wait staff’s service (that’s you) is over the top.
Start a tradition. A special family movie night, cooking a dessert together, going out for dessert in your pajamas, game night, secret santa Valentine’s Day version, fondue, working on a puzzle together, writing notes / creating cards to send to family, friends, and/or neighbors, going to a bookstore and getting everyone a new book, etc. Every tradition starts somewhere … just make it happen!
Don’t succumb to Valentine’s Day dread…you got this, and the effort will absolutely be worthwhile. The day’s an opportunity to do something unique, have fun with it and make your kids a part of it.
Want to wrap up your day memorably? Check out the guide to Telling Bedtime Stories. And if there’s time before bed, you wouldn’t go wrong with a little Yahtzee.
Picture by Kristina Litvjak; Used via Unsplash license.