Written by Deb del Villar, Director of Communications
Why do we ask that question? What are the possible answers we could get? Two statements that sooner or later invade mine are from a famous sonnet and a Broadway play: “How do I love thee, let me count the ways,” is from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous sonnet. The other is a line from a song in Fiddler on the Roof – “but do you love me?”
This is a question everyone wonders about, yet may never voice out loud. Do your grandchildren wonder about your love? How do you tell them – show them? Let’s look at two quick stories.
There is a grandson who loves to sit as close as possible to grandma while watching sports or a movie. Grandma is not particularly fond of this closeness yet snuggles in against him. He craves physical touch so grandma is willing to set aside her own comfort to speak love to his tender heart.
Another grandson calls and asks if grandad can come help him. Upon arrival, this grandson leads him to a room that is an absolute mess. He desires grandad to spend the afternoon with him, straightening and cleaning his room. Is it because he needed the help? Maybe, but more importantly he wanted to spend time with his grandad. As each piece of paper, toy, book, and Lego is picked up, the story behind that item is shared. Grandad then gets a window into the thoughts, interests, and desires of this budding teenager, and spends quality time with him.
Were there lots of other things these grandparents could have been doing? Sure, but none so important. They both spoke love to their grandchildren through their actions.
Each grandchild will need love to be expressed in the way that they will receive it. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is an excellent resource that will help you discover the way your grandchild is uniquely wired to receive love. Check it out here.
By observing and listening to your grandchild, you will probably be able to see what their love language is. For instance, there’s a granddaughter who loves to make and give things to others. She is always working on the next project with someone in mind. This granddaughter is all about gifts – picking up a pack of colored pencils or markers to give her shouts love to her. Be a student of your grandchild and see what speaks to them.
Two other love languages that Gary Chapman shares are words of affirmation and acts of service. Writing a letter or sending a Valentine’s Day card are so fun, but are there more things that could be done? Below are some practical fun ideas to consider as you share Valentine’s Day in person or long distance.
- Paper Hearts – write on individual paper hearts what you love about your grandchild. Send them in the mail or deliver in person. If you live nearby, it would be fun to attach one on their bedroom door each day or send in their lunch or book bag.
- Heart Puzzle – write a message inside a drawn heart on the blank puzzle. Take it apart and send by mail or hand deliver. I.E. “I love you to pieces.”
- Grandchild Promise Cards – attach to a big red heart one of the Promise cards from God’s Word. Be sure to add your grandchild’s name to it. Write a special note on the back of the heart to them. You can find these cards here.
- Word Search – create your own word search with words that describe how much you love them or why you love them or what you love about them. There are many free programs on internet to do this. You could even do one with verses about love from the Bible.
- Punch balloons – send with message “I love you so much I could burst.” This is a great idea for younger grandkids.
- Treasure Hunt – paper hearts with clues, follow the clues to the treasure. Think of what they would like when deciding on the treasure. If they love ice cream, your message at the end could be “I screamed when I heard you were coming.” Small gifts could have a message say “You are God’s gift to me, enjoy this small gift from me.”
- Popcorn Party – send or have grandkids over for a popcorn party. Attach to the popcorn “Poppin by to say there is no one butter than you!”
- Candy – using star burst candy, include the message “You’re a Star, my heart Bursts with love for you” or “I’m bursting to say, I love you.” Candy kisses and hugs – “Here are some kisses and hugs for when I’m not there.” 100 Grand candy bar – “You make our life grand.” Any candy could have the message “Here’s a treat for someone sweet.”
- Small toys or items:
- Yo-Yo – fun to teach them a game we all played as kids. Message could say “Yo – Be My Valentine.”
- Play-Doh – good for the young ones. Lots of message ideas on Pinterest. Here are two: “Doh you want to be my Valentine” or “You are a –doh- able.”
- Plastic Straws – “Sip-sip Hooray, I get to be your grandma.”
- Mini metal car – “I like how you roll.”
- Bubbles – “Blowing kisses your way.”
- Bouncy ball – “You make my heart bounce.”
- Rope with a knot tying book – “My life would knot be the same with you.” You could also use one of the rope bracelets.
- Coloring book and pencils/ crayons – “You bring lots of color to my life.”
- Scrunchie hair band – “I love you a bunchie so here’s a scrunchie.”
- Love coupons – think of activities you could do together, and make up your own booklet of them. They would redeem them at a later time. This speaks to those who like to spend time and do acts of service together.
- Gift Basket – Include items for a Popcorn/movie night, ice cream/sundae night, or S’mores party.
As you think through what to do to speak love to your grandkids, consider how they receive it best. May they never wonder if you love them! May they recite the ways that you love them. May your love be ingrained in their heart and mind always.
Yet do not stop with your love for them alone. May your great love for them point to the greater love of God. May God use this Valentine’s Day to deeply speak love to the hearts of your grandchildren – your love for them but more importantly God’s unconditional, steadfast, never leaving, never changing love.