Valentine’s day is just around the corner! Chocolate,flowers, and hearts- Oh my! Cards; big and small, professing affection, like, or love. Cute little stuffed animals. Oh yeah! Dinner out. Maybe even some jewelry. Oh Wow!
Yes indeed, this is a great little holiday. It’s great if you have small children to shower with love. It’s great if you have significant others to lavish your attentions on. It’s even great if you have friends you adore, that you often share small tokens and gifts with. Because that means you will not only be giving some of the love. You’ll also be getting it back. And both of those always feel good!
That’s what I was thinking when I turned to two of my kids, and asked “What do you think about Valentine’s Day?” I was surprised by their responses, but not really surprised when I stopped to think back to my own childhood. Because I realize that when I was much younger, I often had similar feelings about Valentines Day.
If you’re wondering, this is what they had to say:
“I don’t like Valentine’s day. It was a reminder of how unliked and not pretty I was in middle school. How I didn’t have as many friends. All those other girls had tons of candy, flowers, and stuffed animals, and I didn’t. I mean, I didn’t feel that way most of the time. Usually I felt good about myself, but then Valentine’s day came around, and it really made me feel bad. I found it damaging.”
–My high school aged daughter
“I didn’t like Valentine’s Day, at least not at school. I mean, I liked the candy, if I got any, but it always felt like a popularity contest. It was stupid.”
-My 20 year old son
So it seem that there are positive and negative feelings surrounding Valentine’s Day. It’s wildly anticipated by some, dreaded by others. There are even some who claim to be completely indifferent to Valentine’s Day. People can even experience both positive and negative feelings about Valentine’s Day at the same time.
How can that be? Easy. The idea of getting tokens of affection from those who like or love us, or who we like or love feels great. The idea of getting nothing, not so much and in school, or even at the office, such tokens can be like a public scorecard in a popularity contest that some never seem to outgrow.
What can you do if you have kids?
- Make sure your kids give a card or candy to EACH AND EVERY KID in their class.
- Give your children a small Valentine’s day present yourself.
- Make sure your kids know you love them.
They’ll still feel the sting if they get left out by their friends and peers on Valentines Day. But It will help in the long run.
What else can you do? Well, if you just love- Love! LOVE! -this holiday, consider spreading around the love. When I taught college classes, I used to pass out Hershey Kisses or little Dove chocolates, just like one of my college professors did. It always put a smile on the kids faces, just like it did to me when I was a student. Or bring in a plate of heart shaped cookies for your coworkers to share on break, or hand them out to random strangers.
So, if you or those you love are feeling lonely this V-day; help spread the love. Whether in the ways we suggested or in your own ways, just take a bit of your time to help make this upcoming day a bit more positive for other people. Who knows, maybe they do harbor negative emotions and feelings for this day and your gift could help turn that around.