It’s one of my favorite times of year. All the pink and red, hearts and flowers, homemade cards, sweet kisses, and chocolate. What’s not to like?
I love our local elementary school tradition when every child in the class who brings valentines brings one for every other child in the class. Nobody is left feeling bad because he got less than someone else. It’s a little more challenging at middle and high school, but that’s all part of learning about social reality — some folks have more admirers than others. More on that in a bit.
In addition to helping your kids prepare for Valentine’s Day and dealing with any aftermath, you might give some thought to your children’s teachers and your school. What might a valentine for them look like?
A verbal “thank you” and a smile is an easy valentine to give and it does not happen as often as you might think. So thank the teachers you see, stop in the office and thank the secretaries and the principal. You will make their day. The library staff and helpers, the lunch ladies, the custodians would all appreciate this little bit of recognition.
If you’d like to do something more, offer to pay for a book for the library, to plant some flowers, or help supervise at a school or classroom event. Bring treats for the teachers or the office staff on a day when they’re not expecting any. Write a note telling someone at the school what you appreciate about her service.
There are double dividends for this kind of valentine. You let folks at the school know they are appreciated and you show your children what that looks like. Perhaps your little ones would like to make a special valentine for someone at school who has shown them a special kindness? A yard supervisor? How about the bus driver? There’s a job that rarely gets recognition. We could carry this love fest into the greater community. Who would your kids like to recognize with a sweet greeting? How about the mail carrier? The nice grocery clerk you always chat with at the checkout stand? Your child care provider? Doctor? Dentist? That’s someone who probably isn’t getting lots of valentines from admiring clients.
You may receive valentines from your children. Be sure to ooh and ahh over the art work and the messages. And take a moment to congratulate yourself on all of your parenting efforts, all the things you do every day to make a good life for your kids, for taking the time to comfort and correct them, so that they’ll be cheerful and independent one day.