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Valentine's Day: Is it a Celebration of Love or an all-sorts Contest?

Since the beginning of February, Bontle has been all talk about Valentine’s Day and who is whose valentines at school, etc. During these conversations, I picked up that she might be worried and anxious about her not having a valentine from school when her friends had. We spoke openly about this and following numerous conversations, she made peace with having a regular day with her aunt as her valentine. And then, BOOM! Two days before the 14th, she let me know that she and her BFF decided to be each other’s valentines, i.e., going the galentines route., meaning we needed to go out and get a gift.

picture of red rose

The excitement and euphoria that came with this was quite interesting. I wanted to use this day as a teaching moment but realised that I needed to contextualise it well for Bontle’s comprehension. It’s this observation that prompted me to investigate the origins of Valentine’s Day. I realised that I’d heard stories about its inception but didn’t really know for sure.

In our day, the 14th of February has evolved to be characterised by bouquets of flowers, chocolate, dates and wine. It has become a commercialised day where people celebrate the love they have for one another through lavish gifts and public displays of the love they share. The FOMO for those who wish they had significant others is rife, making sense as to why Bontle would feel a bit left out.

Anyway, because I love teaching moments, I took this as an opportunity to impart some knowledge to my darling daughter.

Here’s are three things I shared with her:

1.  Love is imperfect

Picture of love teddy bear, chocolate and a mug in a box

It was whilst shopping for a teddy that we found this cute, unique one. As you can see, it resembled all things valentine, but she was hesitant to get it because it was stitched up. This is the explanation I gave to her: “this teddy looks imperfect because it resembles true love. You and L adore each other as friends but there are times when you disagree, have misunderstandings, make mistakes and fight about stuff, right? What brings you back together is the love between the two of you. You girls have accepted one another with all your flaws and it’s good to see you both growing to embrace each other like that. This teddy is a reminder that relationships are not perfect but are beautiful and should be treasured nonetheless.”


For a minute there I thought she had zoned out until she picked this one from all the teddy bears she had shortlisted. When we got home, she eagerly ran to her dad to show him the gifts she got her friend. She went further to elaborate on why the teddy bear wasn’t “perfect”. The confidence and pride in her voice when she explained affirmed that the message sunk in.


2. Displaying love doesn’t need to break the bank

Physical expressions of love do not need to break the bank. When she told me about the need to buy the V-Day gifts, I asked about her budget. She kept saying “I will see what I want to buy and that will be the budget”. Although she was buying the gifts with her own savings, I was firm about the need to have a budget and sticking to it.

A child with a galantine's day gift
A pleased Bontle with her galentines gift

Besides helping her build on this important financial habit from a young age, I explained that during this time, stores capitalise on the commercialisation of this day and increase their prices. She understood and was price conscious whilst shopping. Although she went over budget by about R20, the lesson stuck – she has promised to start saving for such endeavours earlier in preparation for V-Day 2025 😊.


Another thing I emphasised was the importance of gifting from the heart instead of from a point of cost. A gift shouldn’t be about how much you spent on the other person or how many items you bought, but on the fact that you thought about them. If the focus is on price tags, then gifting becomes a competitive sport. In my view, this is unnecessary as it puts undue pressure on people to perform. And let’s be honest, not everyone has a deep pocket and quite frankly, the financial knocks we keep getting daily are enough.

Below was my gift to her - love packed in a lunchbox. If you are struggling with what to pack for your children, the YumTums Lunchbox Guide is just what you need. Get yours today!

3.  Be mindful of other’s feelings

So, L (her friend) had a valentine. L informed the valentine on the 13th that she and Bontle would now be each other’s valentines. I was quite curious about how the valentine reacted to these updates. After much conversation and assurance that the L’s valentine understood and took it well. I felt prompted to reiterate the importance of being mindful about other people’s feelings. I put an emphasis on this because although our subtle actions may seem harmless, we need to be mindful of the impact they might have on other people.

With Valentine’s fever seemingly wearing off, allow me to take this moment to remind of a resource about Love – this resource will guide you in ways you can celebrate love every day. It is a reminder of how to love in the best possible way, Loving Like Jesus.

Image of 3-day Bible Plan on YouVersion

Let me know how the tools in this resource have challenged and encouraged you.

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