Optimism

A new twist to Valentine’s Day

Do you remember what Valentine’s Day was like when you were in grade school? There were no flowers or jewelry, no worrying about spending the holiday “alone,” and no pressure to get to Malley’s early so you don’t have to wait an hour for chocolate covered strawberries. There was just love.

Well, as “love” as it gets for a bunch of 6-to-12-year-olds.

Back when classrooms threw holiday parties (Wow, I say that like I’m old.), the annual Valentine’s Day party was always my favorite. I loved picking out the perfect valentines, buying complementary candies, and spreading the love to each and every person there.

We would all decorate our brown paper bags and walk around the room filling each other’s bags with endless valentines. No one picked out special valentines for people, no one skipped putting a valentine in a bag, and, most importantly, no one felt sad or lonely. Everyone just got together, gave one another valentines, and happily ate candy.

Can life be like this again?

The background of Valentine’s Day

Maybe it was because I attended a Catholic grade school or maybe all grade schools were like this (someone let me know), but part of the Valentine’s Day party always focused on the history of Valentine’s Day—how it all began.

For those of you who may not know, here is the basic run-down. (Thanks, history.com)

Valentine’s Day began in the ancient Roman times with St. Valentine. I didn’t know this (again, thanks history.com), but there were multiple St. Valentine legends according to the Catholic Church. For the sake of space (and perhaps boredom) I’ll just explain one. Feel free to refer to the site if you’re interested!

One legend suggests that Valentine was a Roman priest during the third century, when Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families (Logical?). So, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine (being the sap he was) continued to perform marriages for young loves in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Some odd years later, Valentine’s Day was born. Some alleged it was to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death, while others say it was an attempt to “Christianize” Lupercalia. Regardless, we now have a Valentine’s Day. (Again, feel free to read the site if you’re interested in all the details.)

Something interesting to note is that Valentine’s greetings date back as far as the Middle Ages, who knew?!

Modern Valentine’s Day

As a grown adult, Valentine’s Day is different. It’s less about showing love for everyone and more about showing love for your significant other. And, if you don’t have a significant other, you’re out of luck.

Why?

Why can’t we go back to handing out everyone valentines in grade school? Maybe not actually buying valentines and handing them out (although I am all for this), but why not continue to spread the love?

It’s so sad that people dread Valentine’s Day, because it’s such a wonderful holiday. I mean, it’s about love and happiness, so how could that be bad? Our modern world has created this negative stigma of Valentine’s Day because we have made it out to be a day that revolves around having a significant other.

Spread the love this Valentine’s Day

Let’s go back to grade school Valentine’s Day. Maybe it isn’t socially acceptable to run around and hand out valentines as a grown adult, but it is most definitely acceptable to show others they are loved and cared for.

Remind everyone in your life that you love them, and show it. Do the dishes for your mom. Give your dad a hug. Call your grandma and grandpa just to say hello. Take your brother or sister out to coffee. Make the people around you feel loved and cared for.

But don’t stop there—spread the love to complete strangers. Give someone a smile as you walk by. Compliment them on their hair or clothes. Tell the cashier at the grocery store to have a great day (and say it with a smile). Show everyone you possibly can that there is love in the world.

Take the time this Valentine’s Day (and any other day) to make everyone around you feel loved.

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