Here we are in the month of love—or maybe the month with the most successfully marketed Hallmark holiday of all time. I’m wondering how you celebrate Valentine’s day with your kiddo/s. Do you get them a valentine, chocolates, flowers, presents, little candy hearts that say “be mine”?
As a parent I’m always trying to create sweet, everlasting traditions whether it be the candles on Shabbat or a Christmas Tree on Christmas—yeah, we’re one of those gluttonous families with many traditions—but how do we celebrate this one in a more meaningful way? I was struggling, and as I pondered Valentine’s Day I had an enlightening conversation with my best friend Kimba.
“Well, when I think about February, I don’t think about Valentine’s Day at all, I think about February being Black History Month,” she said. Boom, there was that big spark of awareness I needed. How could I be focusing on Valentine’s Day when this is such an important month to celebrate the many contributions to the United States made by Black Americans? There is my Satsang, my community, helping me polish my mirror, as Ram Dass would say. To be honest, I didn’t even think about the Chinese New Year, which is crazy because I’m half Chinese.
For me, this tender intersection of traditions and cultures in February is a beautiful reminder of what love could truly be about: being present, loving thy neighbor, and practicing ‘Metta.’ No, not Meta, ‘the Metaverse’ and beyond, as Facebook is now called, but Metta, which translates into “loving kindness” and is a Buddhist meditation of wishing others well.
The name Metta runs deep for my family and I. Metta is actually the name of our 6-month-old little girl, and we named her after my dear brother-in-law, Gavin Levy, whose nickname was “Metta G.” Gavin oozed loving kindness from his pores and dedicated many years of his life to helping run Conscious Alliance, a nonprofit organization, which does hunger relief for Native American reservations.
So how do we do this? How do we ooze loving kindness from our pores like “Metta G” constantly gifting random acts of kindness? Most importantly, how do we teach our children this deeper meaning of love, especially when being marketed to with big chocolate hearts and other material ways to say I love you?
How do we bring together these diverse cultural holidays of Valentine’s Day, the Chinese New Year and an entire month devoted to Black American accomplishments? Okay, sure, you can bring the chocolate hearts too.
Most importantly, let’s focus on bringing love to others and to ourselves as we manifest loving kindness and practice some Metta!
PARENTS Find somewhere to relax and sit comfortably. Then recite these positive phrases toward yourself and other people. This will help cultivate feelings of love, kindness, and compassion towards ourselves and to others.
May I be happy.
May I be well.
May I be safe.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May you be happy.
May you be well.
May you be safe.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May we be happy.
May we be well.
May we be safe.
May we be peaceful and at ease.
KIDS Music makes everything better and easier to learn information. Share the Wee Yogis Loving Kindness/Metta meditation song which is on the KayLee Smiles Album: Wee Yogis Grow. As you listen and sing along, try to engage them in conversation about who they would like to send loving kindness to.
Also, during this special time of February, to help your kids learn about other cultures, read books about Black history and Chinese New Year. Two of my favorites: Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison and Bringing in The New Year by Grace Lin.