It’s one thing for you and your spouse to celebrate Valentines, but should we encourage our little ones to participate in the holiday of romance? Join AMBrewster as he discusses the issue from a biblical perspective and advises Christian parents concerning cupid’s place in their home.
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Discover the following episodes by clicking the titles or navigate to the episode in your app:
Check out our other Valentines Day episodes.
“Teach Your Children to Obey” series (starts enepsidoe 138)
“Four Family Loves” series (starts in episode 128)
“Friends” series (starts in episode 164)
“Teens and Dating: what God has to say about their crush” (episode 30)
“Emotions and Parenting” series (starts in episode 32)
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Happy Valentines Day!
I know it’s a little late to be asking today’s question since it’s already Valentines Day, but the discussion is still valuable and will — Lord willing — help guide our thinking into next year.
Welcome to the show. If this is your first time, I’m really glad you’re here. Anna is also new to the show, and she shared these thoughts in her recent Facebook review:
“I discovered this podcast in early January 2020. I must have heard about it on a Facebook Christian Mom's group and saved it because there it was in my subscriptions list. This podcast offers such real, and scriptural advice. No sugar coated, worldly platitudes and advice. It is challenging, thought provoking, idea generating, and helpful. I recommend you listen in.”
Thank you for your encouragement, Anna!
TeamTLP and I pray that our times together will help you become a more intentional, premeditated, disciple-making Ambassador Parent.
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Okay, let’s talk about whether or not Valentines Day has any value.
In college I remember being super down on Valentines and Sweetest Days. They appeared to be nothing more than fake holidays designed by money-grubbing businesses.
Of course, I was probably single when I thought that. I’m pretty sure I participated when I had a girlfriend.
And I think we can all appreciate the value of such mini-holidays in light of a Christ-honoring marriage. We should take time to celebrate our relationship and our love.
It doesn’t have to happen on February 14th, and it definitely shouldn’t happen only on February 14th, but it needs to happen. Therefore, having an easy-to-remember day to give it some additional emphasis is not a bad idea.
But today we’re not discussing whether or not you and your spouse should make a big deal out of Valentines Day. Today we’re asking whether our kids should celebrate it.
So, let’s start by paying attention to . . .
1. The Valentine Detractors
There are many who shy away from having their kids celebrate Valentines because they’re concerned that it’s unhealthy to encourage children to focus on things like attraction and romance. All the kiss candies and X’s and O’s and talk of love and valentines seem inappropriate when we think of our children and teens having these discussion with their classmates and friends . . . many of whom are veritable strangers or people with whom you would not want your children having a relationship. And even if you would encourage a relationship with that person — later in life — you definitely wouldn’t do it now.
So, what’s the value?
By the way, if you think that people who believe what I just outlined are “taking this thing too seriously” or “going overboard” in their concerns, I want to caution you. I believe their concerns are very biblical and justified.
I have no desire for my 10 year old to have romantic thoughts toward anyone right now, and I though I think my 13 year old should be grappling with what it means to be the man that a godly woman would want to marry . . . he still has a long way to go before it will be appropriate for him to pursue a serious relationship.
But — despite my grand desires — Valentines Day has a way of focusing on all the wrong aspects of love. It makes no room for biblical love. It promotes the superficial facets of relationship like attraction and feelings and physical intimacy and doting.
From a biblical standpoint, there really is very little value to a young person who is nowhere near being old enough to marry or even close to maturely thinking about beginning the search for a spouse to be distracted by all of the temptations that come with inappropriate relationships.
And — given that our society has been seeing the very worst that comes from the objectification of women and the explosion of ungodly sexuality and the increased focus on the “acceptability” of pedophilia — I’m not surprised that Christian parents are pulling back from the day.
But . . . is that the right response?
Let’s consider . . .
2. The Valentines Baby
I am going to argue today that it’s never a good idea to throw the baby out with the bath water. We like the baby. The baby has value. Yes, it’s challenging to take care of a baby. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it takes time, but the baby is too important to casually toss out with the dirty water.
I believe there is a very important proverbial “baby” sitting in the dirty water that is Valentines Day whom we would be foolish to jettison along with the paper hearts and ridiculous amounts of candy.
You see, it’s too easy for us to nonchalantly cast out valuable resources. There are at least 5 reasons why:
A. We have a knee jerk reaction to throw out everything the world creates.
Yes, the world system cannot be trusted to purport philosophies that directly glorify God. However, we must not forget about Common Grace.
When we assume that the world is completely incapable of creating something worthwhile, we’re ignoring God and His involvement in this world. That’s never a good idea.
Even though we are all totally depraved, no one is as bad as they could be because God’s restraining hand and Common Grace enables unbelievers to participate in noble pursuits.
If you remember our “Teach Your Children to Obey” series, then you know that biblical obedience is doing the right thing in the right way for the right reason in the right power. Well, don’t forget that unsaved people are fully capable of doing the right thing in the right way.
They may not have the right motivation or be empowered by the Holy Spirit to glorify God, but that doesn’t negate the fact that what they are doing or what they have created is truly right.
Another reason we’re prone to throw the baby out with the bath water is . . .
B. We’ve been so personally affected by the destruction something has caused that we have no patience for any discussion applauding its merits.
I understand the feelings associated with this issue.
My brother in law fell into great sin because of his involvement in secular theater. Because of my own interaction with the alternative rock scene of the 90’s and early 2000’s, I have very little patience for Christian groups who try to emulate that scene. There are people who believe that fantasy books are completely wicked simply because they heard that children decided to participate in the occult after reading them.
I get it.
But, if there is truly value . . . it shouldn’t be rejected.
Let me give you one example — how many false religions and dangerous cults have claimed that the Bible is the rule for their faith and practice?
Yeah, let that marinate for a minute.
Would it be appropriate for me to say that I’m not going to base my life on the Bible anymore because it’s been used by too many people to spread lies and cause destruction?
No. That would be foolish.
So, I’m sorry that something terrible may have occurred to someone you love because of the inappropriate romantic emphasis of Valentines Day, but that doesn’t mean it’s right to avoid the whole discussion.
C. We’re too lazy to find the good.
This is obviously wrong.
However, sometimes we’re legitimately too busy doing other valuable things to have time to invest in studying out the pros and cons of Valentines Day. It takes enough time as it is to help my kid make their Valentine Shoe Box that I don’t have any time left to think about what it all means.
That’s a legitimate issue that comes with being mortal and finite.
But that’s why we’re doing this podcast — so TeamTLP and I can put in the effort that your schedule doesn’t allow.
D. We’re too blind to find the good.
Let’s be honest, no matter how hard we look, sometimes our a priori assumptions or experiences can blind us to legitimate value.
And . . .
E. Once we find the good (or once someone shows it to us), we’re too lazy to mine it and take full advantage of it.
Honestly, I think this is probably our biggest issue.
Those of you who don’t like your children participating in Valentines Day may be put off by my suggestions for how we can redeem it and make it valuable for our children. It may seem like too much unnecessary work, and you believe it’s better simply to ignore it.
And those of you who let your kids participate in Valentines Day because you see nothing wrong with it may also be tempted to be too lazy to realize that there are legitimate dangers that need to be addressed with your kids, and that — perhaps — you should take a little more time preparing them to think biblically about the holiday.
May that not be true of us. Intentional, premeditated, disciple-making Ambassador Parents can’t be lazy. The moment we get lazy in our parenting, we’re no longer intentional or premeditated. We’re no longer making disciples. And we’re no longer functioning as Ambassadors for Christ.
So, let’s take our remaining minutes to find the baby in the bath water, draw her out, take the appropriate time with her, and teach our kids how to toss out the worthless, dirty water.
3. How to Redeem Valentines Day
I believe Valentines has a lot going for it, and the problems are avoidable.
Let’s start with the problems:
As I mentioned at the beginning of the show, I believe the worst parts of Valentines Day are . . .
It is wrong to leave God out of any facet of our lives, and it’s equally as inappropriate to be encouraging children to think romantically about each other. That will lead to nothing short of temptation and the sin it so easily conceives.
But I believe the answer to the second problem is found in the answer to the first problem.
When we put God smack in the middle of our lives — where He belongs — He informs our desires and decisions.
So, when it comes to redeeming Valentines Day . . .
1. Make God and His love the central focus of the day.
What better way to celebrate love than by having a biblical understanding of it?!
Remind your kids that we can love only because God first loved us (I John 4:19).
Remind them that the two greatest commands are that we love God and then love each other (Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:25-28).
And that sets the stage for . . .
2. Invite your kids to show biblical love toward others.
Take some time to work through the valuable information from the “Four Family Loves” series. That study not only deals with the love we should show all people, but it also discusses romantic love in episode 134.
Take some time to talk about the “Friends” series so that your children know how the best of friends treat each other.
If your kids are older and crushing hard on someone in their school, you should definitely take time helping them understand how God would have them interact with that individual. We have an episode called “Teens and Dating: what God has to say about their crush” that can equip you to have the conversation.
And it would also be a valuable time to remind your children about the place emotions are to have in our lives. Episodes 32 and 33 should be helpful in that.
And this is the whole point. Use Valentines Day to reinforce that your family desires to fulfill the two greatest commandments every day of the year.
Teach your kids practical ways they can genuinely, biblically love the kids at school. Call them to a higher understanding of what it looks like to have God’s love in us.
But don’t neglect discussing the dangers of romance. Merriam-Webster defines romance as “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.”
Of course, their understanding of love is merely an emotional response to stimuli which normally encompasses the superficial aspects of attraction and desire.
Romance was created by God to be enjoyed by a husband and wife. It’s not an elementary schooler thing, it’s not a high schooler thing, it’s not even valuable for a college students pursuing a marriage relationship.
Each of the groups I just mentioned have been commanded by God to love everyone they encounter. But the romantic, physical attraction — which, if we’re being honest, deals mostly with sexual attraction — isn’t valuable to the relationship in any way.
However, once the two are married, romance is exciting and amazing and Christ-honoring if done correctly.
And it’s very important to teach our children — especially in this sex-saturated world — to understand God’s design for human sexuality and to patiently wait for their chance to participate in it while they work on the more important aspects of biblically loving God and their neighbor.
Should your kids celebrate Valentines Day? I believe they should. I believe they should be the best example in their class of what it truly means to love someone. Their good works should be seen and their heavenly Father glorified because of them.
Take the good, spit out the bad, and help your children become the disciples God is calling them to be.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets so other Christian parents can learn to redeem the Valentines.
And remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent in truth and love. That’s going to involve discussing truth about love.
To that end, join us next time as we talk with Kristen Jenson about her book, “Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: porn-proofing today’s young kids.”
If the world wants our kids to think that love is the same as lust, we need to be proactively preparing them to protect themselves from the destructive effects of pornography.
I’ll see you then.
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