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Does everyone remember those years in elementary school when we’d bring valentines from home and put them in a big “mailbox” decorated with paper hearts? I loved the anticipation! The box would sit up near the teacher’s desk, and all day I’d sneak glances at it, waiting for that magic moment when we’d all take a turn “delivering” the valentines to each other. It was a favorite holiday of mine; a happy day about love! My parents did not have a lot of money, and even if they did, I am sure my dad would not have wasted it on such things as store bought Valentine’s Day cards. However, I took delight in designing and decorating valentines for my fellow classmates. Using construction paper and crayons, my pictures were not perfect and my words were misspelled, but I was always pleased with my creations, especially because I would attach a lollypop, (saved up from several trips to the bank over a month long period.) I tried to individualize them, making each one different. Of course, my drawings were coarse and generally they all looked alike, but in my mind (and my memory), they were perfect!
For such anticipation, one would think I thoroughly enjoyed the day, sipping on the plastic glass of fruit punch and eating the heart shaped cookies provided by the teacher. But in elementary school, it always turned out to be a day of huge disappointment. I always received many valentines because I was friendly to everyone, but it wasn’t for me that I was disappointed. It saddened my heart that I would get so many valentines when other, less popular children would get so few, or, shudder, none… Before we would leave school that day, I would have split up my own valentines to share with the students who were not so fortunate, but I knew that this did not mitigate the fact that the other students did not think to send them one personally.
Many years have passed, and I am now a parent, and even a grandparent. When my children were in elementary school, I taught them to care about everyone in their class. For days like Valentine’s Day, they were to consider other children’s feelings and make sure that there was a card for every single student in their rooms, especially the “special ed” students who may have joined their class from time to time, (and, undoubtedly, would be joining the class for the small Valentine’s Day’s festivities.) It was not expensive, a few penny valentines and pieces of candy attached. But it was a priceless lesson. One to care for others no matter what their position is in life, popular or unpopular, with a disability or without, rich or poor, pretty or not too pretty, saint or sinner. (Yes, they had to give a valentine to the kiddo who was always in trouble, talked fresh to the teacher, and pushed them down on the ground once during recess.) That lesson on Valentine’s Day was a life lesson for them, and they have all grown into children who are considerate of others.

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Comments on: "A Word About Valentine’s Day for Children" (58)

  1. Sounds like you were born with kindness ;) I also remember those days well. My sons also sent lollipops and when I checked his backpack he had sent himself 5 because he didn’t want to be the only kid not getting any. Broke my heart :(

  2. That breaks my heart!

  3. What a wonderful lesson! You are such an amazing parent. I have asked for a sample of your book be downloaded to my kindle app, but so far it hasn’t come. I can’t wait to read the sample and then the book.

  4. Touched my Heart, Love the way it is expressed, Beautifully written. I still believe stronly in Ont thing without doubt, Kindness is the greatest gift we can give to anyone and it is the most important lesson of life we teach to our children.

  5. Such a sweet thing to do.

  6. Yea, Mom, for Valentines! But mostly, for what you are teaching!…your children are fortunate to have you!

  7. This is fantastic. I have my own concerns about kids and Valentine’s Day, written here:

    http://quarterto5.com/2014/02/07/valentines-day/

  8. Now most schools have a policy where if you are bringing in Valentines, you must bring one for every student in the class. That is the way it is where I teach. Unfortunately I’ll be traveling Friday and I will miss the day with my class!

  9. Thank you for sharing your valuable lesson. I too believe that if my kids are bringing Valentine’s then they bring them for the entire class. I wish everyone felt the same way we do.

  10. I just love that. I’m not sure what they do at my sons secondary school and I even contemplated sending my kids cards in the post but my husband said that could cause issues and confuse them. I’m still not convinced I can’t just buy and present them with a card on the day as valentines is an expression of love can be to anyone can’t it!? Your story was lovely though I could really feel for those children who never got one. You write beautifully

  11. Reblogged this on Eclectic odds n sods and commented:
    This really warmed my heart the lessons of kindness this mother teaches her children x

  12. A great reminder to be caring of all, every day, and especially on Valentine’s Day.

  13. See, I dreaded Valentine’s Day because I never got as many as the other girls in my class, and mine were cheap compared to the extravagant ones being handed out by the other students.

  14. When I was in elementary school (and when my son was as well) everyone brought valentines for everyone in the class. I don’t remember it ever being an option not to, and certainly neither my mom nor I would have let her child leave anyone out on purpose! I would have been saddened too if I saw other kids left out like that when I was in school.

  15. I went to school with a boy named David all the way through elementary school and he never got many Valentines on Valentine’s day. I think there were maybe three to five of us who gave him one. We were not friends and I have no idea where he is today, but I think of him every year around this time. I’m glad that schools (at least for my kids) have made it so that every child has to give a valentine to every one. It’s just so cruel to leave someone out.

  16. BOUGHT YOUR BOOK…CONSIDER IT A MUST B4 I WRITE MINE. THE BOOK I will write will be on autism and special needs..resources….Can I interview you? u can email me at ollamok@aol.com please put autism in subject line. If u don’t want to be iinterviewed i understand. I am not looking to get rich with the book

  17. There was a fair bit of murmur between parents when the carers at my kids daycare told us that they wish birthday invites are not shared via daycare.The only thing I could think of was “lovely carers, they think of ALL the kids”. But why do daycare staff need to teach this to parents? Thank you for the reminder of caring about everybody, and we’ll allbe happier!

  18. This post is such an indication of the person you are and have always been. :) The lessons you taught your children are invaluable and important. It’s something I try so hard to teach my special needs son because he just doesn’t think that way, even though he hates it when he feels left out. Good on you ;) And…. Happy Valentines Day! {Hug}

  19. Reblogged this on Health and the Human Experience and commented:
    Lessons of love for children on Valentine’s Day

  20. nice article, as always. and just like Christmas, love and kindness should be more on a daily basis. :)

  21. Jenna Salamon said:

    Brings back memories! My daughter is in 1st grade and it is required that if she brings in valentines that she has to do it for everyone. I think that is wonderful!

  22. Beautiful lesson here! :) Thank you for sharing.

  23. Reblogged this on Confessions of a School Nurse and commented:
    Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. That always means parties – food, sugar, and fun. As this blogger notes, there can also be some very children. Don’t forget about those kids who might not be as “acceptable” as others.

  24. Yes I do remember those days well and yes I was one of those that didn’t get very many because I am handicapped. That was hard for me because yes again I was one of those people that you mentioned that would give one to everyone in my class no matter what they did or how they did it or what I thought of them I was always nice to them and would give them a valentines day card even if it was just a note on a piece of notebook paper each member of my class would get something even if it wasn’t a store bought card each member of my class would get something because that’s just how I was! And I treated other people like I wanted to be treated no matter whether they treated me good or not no matter wether they treated me with respect or not they got respect from me!

  25. We made our Valentine’s Day cards. I didn’t know everyone did Christmas ones so I failed. We finished up the cards, and he sent me to the store, “Mommy, we need to include candy,” so I got the chocolate hearts, which he taped–one each–to the same part on each card.

  26. bsymommonologues said:

    I had that experience too, and a few days ago I was telling my husband that I miss those days with my oldest son. He is now in middle school… The good think my little one is 4 years old, and I’ll be able to share those moments with him too.

  27. What a great lesson! My kids are required to bring valentine’s to everyone. I can’t imagine that not being the case and some kids not receiving as many. Very sad, but people like you would have made a huge difference in their lives!

  28. I remember Valentine’s Day in school too and the days before the policy that said everyone has to get one…I felt sorry for the children who did not get that many…and I …like you made sure my children did not leave anyone out…even when they grumbled about it..lol…thanks for the story…it is always good to remember that we have to teach our children to think of others because there are so many people out there that do not.

  29. Teaching children compassion and kindness early on is a lesson never regretted. Great post.

  30. I always made sure to make a card for each of my classmates. Unfortunately I was the unpopular kid and I was lucky to walk away with a card. It always hurt, especially since my mom made sure that I made cards for every child in my classroom. I never understood why other mothers didn’t do the same.

  31. When I taught elementary school, my rule was “bring Valentines for everyone or don’t bring any at all.” I did the same with the passing out of birthday party invitations. If a student wanted to pass them out at school, then they needed to invite everyone in the class. If not, their parents could find another way to get the word out. I had many parents angry with me for that rule, but I refused to allow a single child to feel like the pariah. The ones who aren’t popular already know it. They don’t need it blatantly shoved in their faces.

  32. […] I’m all for the lighthearted approach endorsed by my fellow blogger, Linda, in her post A Word about Valentine’s Day for Children.  But this is not how I was raised.  While others exchanged handmade heart-shaped cards with […]

  33. I was one of the ones who didn’t get many. I still gave one to every single kid, but you’re right–it did hurt! Such a silly thing in the light of retrospect, but I never understood mothers who let their kids give Valentines only to their friends or invite kids to a party by handing out invitations to some in class, but not others. You are a good and loving person!

  34. Great post. I was one of those “none” children and it didn’t start to bother me until I was a bit older, YA age and I felt without love and care. Great lesson to pass to your children. Although I think it’s nice to have Valentine’s people do tend to forget there are those who haven’t someone (sometimes even a parent) to love them.

  35. I just completed my second week full time student teaching and as you know Friday was Valentine’s Day. We had a party in my first grade class and it was our class (and school ) policy that if you were bringing in Valentines, you had to bring one for everyone in your class.

    My boys who are 5 and 7 also handmade Valentines for all their classmates, decorating them each in a slightly different way. It was fun to watch them work at this and I eventually joined them, hand making cards for each of the students in my class. They were not fancy, much like the ones you made when you were a child, mostly colored construction paper and puffy colorful heart stickers, but they were made with love and there was one for each child.

  36. My school didn’t do valentine’s day, but you make it sound like a lot of fun! Thank you for visiting my blog ciaradarren.com and prompting me to come over. Glad I came!

  37. Hi! I have something to tell you! :)) I just won this book (http://www.amazon.com/Caterpillar-Kindness-Sharon-Hughes/dp/1491844728) on this page (https://www.facebook.com/therandomactsofkindnessfoundation) and I want YOU to have it because Im reading your book and blog and I really admire you and the way you write is amazing. My bro experiences some kind of disabilities as well and reading your book gave me some more strenght to keep him happy and help him fight his problems :) Anyway, all you have to do is to message your adress to info@randomactsofkindness.org and they will send it to you..they already know :) Just say Giulia told you :) Let me know if you and the kids enjoy it ..:) Hugs <3

  38. What a beautiful lesson!

  39. A very beautiful lesson! I love reading your posts!! Hugz Lisa and Bear

  40. At my school it was a requirement that you gave a valentine to every child—so there were no hurt feelings when a child didn’t receive a card. Even still, it’s important to instill the lessons you mentioned here—i.e. compassion—so our kids treat everyone kindly even when it’s not required.

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