I came across one of my parenting blog posts originally published February 2, 2011. Boy, a lot has changed in 11 years. You’d think with a home full of preteens and teens that an old post wouldn’t apply to my life anymore. But reading it, I found myself holding my breath for a split second as the Holy Spirit reminded me that the same truths God taught me back then are just as applicable today.
Join me for a time hop.
This Year Will Be Different
I am frugal. My friends say I squeak. A farm-girl from Kansas, I learned at a young age the value of a dollar.
I also take every opportunity available for my children to work on creativity and fine motor skills. Combine these two characteristics and you are guaranteed to receive a homemade Valentine’s Day card from a Franz child.
Yet, this year will be different. I will be spending money on pre-made Valentine’s Day cards for Bubs. Gasp!
Let me explain.
An Empty Box
For the past few years, I’ve purchased various Valentine’s Day cards on clearance after the holiday for emergency future use. (Being a good financial steward!)
Assuming that I had some left to use for this year’s Valentine’s Day school parties, I was surprised to find the box empty. Oops!
No fears. I headed to Google and grabbed a homemade-card idea that I thought was cute, but not over the top. After the kids were in bed, I gathered my construction paper, scissors, and a pencil to start prepping. My plan was to do the hard part so the kids could finish up the cards the next day.
Noticing what I was doing, my wise husband said, “The only thing that I remember about Valentine’s Day at school was that I always had the cheapest valentines to pass out. Everyone else had the really cool superstar cards. But I guess it was really good for me.”
What an interesting comment from a 30-something guy.
What My Son Needs
My husband’s comment caused me to imagine Bubs passing out valentines to his kindergarten classmates.
Although this isn’t his first Valentine’s Day party, I recognize that things are different this year because Bubs now sees that life isn’t played on an even field.
Because of past experience, I know that almost every child in his class will visit the local supermarket and purchase their favorite current superhero or character. And the few handmade Valentines passed around will be over the top compared to what I have the time, money, or ability to create.
Taking all of this into consideration, I realize that – while very cute – a construction-paper, glitter valentine with a cute saying is not going to provide the results that I desire this time. Not for my six-year-old boy.
What I Learned in an Empty Box of Valentine’s
By now you’re probably aware that homemade vs purchased Valentine’s Day cards is really not the point. Sweet Pea is actually very excited about her homemade cards.
I realize that our children are never going to have the top of the line or be able to keep up with the Joneses. Actually, I don’t want our children to have best, most popular, most stylish items.
But I also don’t want them to be embarrassed because mommy didn’t want to spend $2.50 on 16 Valentine cards. Life is hard enough on its own. My kids don’t need their own mommy making it harder.
It’s about knowing your child. Knowing what that child needs – truly needs, not just wants – in each specific situation. Knowing that their needs change and then adapting with them. Knowing what it important to the child and why.
It’s about “training that child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6).
So, if you happen to be in Walmart tomorrow you may see us hitting the Valentine’s Day card aisle. Not to buy top-of-the-line cards to be the best and give him anything that he wants, but to find something that he will be proud to give to his friends…because that is what my son needs.