February gives you a wonderful opportunity to talk about love and friendship and to plan some endearing activities for your group. Each February we set aside a day to express our appreciation of the special people in our lives: St. Valentine’s Day. On this occasion, people of all ages exchange tokens of love.
- For a sensory experience, share some of these items with your group: mixed bouquet of flowers with a red-pink-white color scheme, box of chocolates, perfume, heart-shaped Mylar balloon, lace handkerchief, cutout of Cupid, cinnamon candy, chocolate-dipped strawberries, cuddly teddy bears, and vintage Valentine postcards.
- Encourage group members to share memories of a favorite Valentine gift. What made it so special?
- Talk about the origins of the most romantic day of the year. Learn the story of Saint Valentine. Encourage your group to reminisce about childhood Valentine’s Day memories. Do they remember decorating a shoebox and trading cards with schoolmates? What candies did they enjoy eating as a child? Hold a counting contest. Fill a plastic jar with small Valentine conversation hearts. Ask each group member to guess the number of hearts in the jar. Or, make simple “Be My Valentine” cards from lace, ribbon, and hearts to share with staff and friends.
- Ask your group: What is love? Does the meaning of love change, as you grow older? List synonyms for love. Ask participants if they agree with this quote by the Roman poet Virgil: Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to love. Discuss: Does love have a different meaning in other countries? Is there a universal language of love? Describe it. Teach your group to say “I love you” in a foreign language. (Example: French – Je t’adore or Je t’aime.) Sing a special love song such as “I Love You Truly” or “True Love.”
- The rose is an ancient symbol of love and has become the traditional Valentine’s Day flower. Bring in samples of different colors of roses (minus the thorns) and explore the meaning of each shade, e.g., red means love and beauty. Talk about cultivating a rose garden. Show pictures of prize-winning roses. Pass around a bowl of rose petals for participants to touch.
Here are some heart-to-heart ideas for encouraging reminiscing about the many kinds of love, including romantic, platonic, and divine.
- Read some love poetry. Suggestions: William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 or Sonnet 116; Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43 (“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”); Lord Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty”; or Robert Burns’ “A Red, Red Rose.”
- Contemplate the definition of biblical love as found in 1 Corinthians 13.
- Read some of Helen Steiner Rice’s inspirational verse from books such as Gifts of Love or Blossoms of Friendship.
February is also a good time to honor and appreciate the gift of good friends. Ask participants: What kind of people did you choose as friends? What are the ingredients of a good friendship? What kind of advice would you give on nurturing long-term friendships? Industrialist Henry Ford once said, My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me. Now you can build bonds of friendship and trust with your clients.
LOVE SONGS QUIZ
- I Only Have Eyes. . .for You
- People Will Say. . .We’re in Love
- Some Enchanted. . .Evening
- I’m in the Mood. . .for Love
- Let Me Call You. . .Sweetheart
- My Funny. . .Valentine
- Taking a Chance. . .on Love
- I’m in Love with. . .a Wonderful Guy
- I’ve Grown Accustomed to. . .Her Face
- As Time Goes. . .By
- Once in Love with. . .Amy
- Blest Be the. . .Ties That Bind
- The More I. . .See You
- Love is a Many. . .Splendored Thing
- My Blue. . .Heaven
- In the Still of. . .the Night
- Fly Me to. . .the Moon
- The Very Thought. . .of You
- I’m Getting Sentimental. . .Over You
- Love Me. . .Tender
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
A smile is an inexpensive but powerful gesture. Share one today!
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ~ Mother Teresa
“LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP” written by Sue Hansen. © 2005 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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