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  • Pamela Haefner

5am Rant on Valentines

Full disclosure, I woke up at 5am on a rant. If you continue to read, consider yourself forewarned. It’s Valentine’s Day. No, not the usual rant of how it’s for lovers and leaves out those who are not heart swooned. My pet peeve is rather about how we push this crazy ass holiday on our children with the requirement to do Valentines. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all, I presume, done it…sat at the kitchen table with the class list and scribbled everyone’s name on the back of preprinted red and pink cards to then be deposited in the decorated box or paper bag. We’d take ‘em home and look through ‘em and then leave them in that box or bag for months until they eventually got thrown out. WHY?!! Every stinking year…WHY?!!


These cards were not heartfelt. They were not meaningful. They were a requirement imposed on us by a system and pushed by Hallmark. I am embarrassed to say that I did this to my kids too. And again, WHY?!! Because I was told to. But what does this activity do really? It didn’t help us or doesn’t help our kids deepen their connections and relationships with their peers. It’s the paper version of Facebook. Everyone (but ultimately no one) is a loved one.


I asked my boys if they did favor one person or another, did they write them an extra special red and pink card. Even my son, who is married his kindergarten sweetheart, did not give to her a particular “expression of love” in those cards. His expression of love was to share a snack, or invite her to play on the playground, or let her go in front of him in line. These are true expressions of love.


As I parented my boys, I went along with this trend and didn’t question it. But I invite us all to think about why we do what we do with our kids? What is it teaching them? Is it helping them to foster deeper connections with their peers and have meaningful relationships, or simply going along with the Hallmark tradition?

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