Ahhh … Valentine’s Day.  More often than not, you hear people exclaim, “I hate Valentine’s Day” or “We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day” or “It was invented by greeting card companies as a way to make money.”  I say “Bah Humbug” to them and proclaim that this year, we should embrace Valentine’s Day!  After all, it is a day to celebrate the ones you love, and everyone reading this blog today has one thing in common – we have children whom we adore.  Celebrate them, love them, kiss them, and embrace the gift that you have been given with those sweet children.  (Yes, I know they are not always sweet, but picture them when they are sleeping – that always helps to bring out the angelic side!)

After telling your children about how much you love them, talk about ways you can show love for others.  Family members can be reminded of your love by a simple note or picture that your child creates.  Snail mail it to them as a surprise.

Also talk about ways to show the love to those less fortunate. We have fabulous guest blogs by Anne Powers, Rebecca Albertson, and Stefanie Moore which give excellent suggestions on way to help local charities and lower income families.

Next, talk about how to show the love to complete strangers!  Did you know this is Random Acts of Kindness Week?  You can read more about it on the foundation page here.  I compiled a list of some of my favorite ideas for random acts of kindness.  Take a look and try to complete a few with your family this week!

*Bake cookies together, and take them to a neighbor who needs a lift.  Ring the doorbell and leave them there anonymously.
*Pitch in and clean up the yard of a neighbor who is ill, has had surgery recently, or has had a family emergency.
*Make a new friend.
*Walk to a nearby park and pick up trash, then have a picnic there.
*Bake a treat and take it to a police or firefighter station.
*Arrange to plant flowers or a tree at a school or park on a Saturday morning.
*Have each member of your family choose someone outside the family who has made a positive difference in his or her life. Write short thank-you notes, and mail the letters together.
*Discuss the best things about the area where you live, the best places to shop and have fun, etc. Have someone take notes. Then type up the ideas to give to new neighbors who move in.
*Volunteer with your children to help at a soup kitchen.
*Leave a bouquet of flowers on a neighbor’s front step anonymously.
*Make some small gifts or write kindness wishes and drawings on bright greeting cards. Deliver them in person to residents of a nursing home, a children’s home, or senior facility.
*Collect stories from family members about kind acts both given and received, and create a family scrapbook. If you have photos, include them with the stories. As years go by and as your children grow, all of you can review the many ways that kindness has touched your family’s life.
* Roll an elderly neighbor’s garbage cans back up the driveway at the end of trash pick-up day.
*Buy cold drinks for the people next to you at a ball game.

And my favorite:
*Pay for the person’s meal behind you when you go through a drive-thru window.

Remember that even when it comes to your Valentine, sometimes a random act of kindness can mean just as much as a tangible item.  Just be sure to put some thought behind it! Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!