As a mother, there are few things more gratifying than observing a genuine and unprovoked act of kindness by your children. It was last night that I experienced this overwhelming sense of pride and I would like to share my story with you. It’s also very fitting that my anecdote has an underlying Valentine’s Day message.
A popular Valentine’s Day tradition with kids is the exchange of cards and Valentine’s treats. In their cheerfully decorated classrooms are cut-out hearts, images of cupid, love poems and the carefully- crafted mailboxes that await their Valentines messages. In preparation for this exchange, kids are instructed to go through the entire class list and customize a special message for all classmates. As I reflect back to my own school days, I can recall a very strong correlation between children’s’ popularity and its impact on the dissemination of Valentine’s Day cards. It saddens me to think that some of the less-popular kids were undermined or even excluded from this joyous Valentine’s Day ritual.
I truly applaud the efforts of our teachers to make it mandatory that all kids exchange Valentine’s messages thereby no child being excluded. While the new rules governing Valentine’s Day card exchanges ensures equal distribution, some kids have developed their own ways to circumvent the good intentions of this system. There seems to be a new code for rewarding the popular kids and snubbing the outcasts. I learned, through overhearing my kids’ talk, that the quantity of stickers on Valentine’s Day cards reflects the level of admiration to the recipient. It seems that the paradigm of popular vs not-popular is still an unfortunate reality.
I continued to keep my ear to the ground as my kids were crafting their Valentines cards. I was going to intervene in order to ensure that my kids were not engaged into this cruel act of snobbery; but before I could, I became overwhelmed with joy and pride for what I heard next.
Without any input from myself, my kids agreed that they should create an extra special message for 2 kids that get treated unkind from the other kids. My daughter indicated that she will also give these kids a big Valentine’s Day hug and my son (being a boy) said he will “only pass the soccer ball to them so they could get lots of goals and be happy”!
I gave them a huge hug and told them how proud of them I was. Both responded by saying that “everyone should be included and feel loved on Valentine’s Day and besides they’re our friends”. They also acknowledged that other kids are mean to them and they hope that their kind actions will make this stop!
This seemingly small gesture from my kids could mean a lot. It reminded me that Valentine’s Day is more than just expensive roses, chocolates and gifts. Valentine’s Day should be a celebration of love and kindness where a simple act can perpetuate into something special. I guess we can all learn something from our kids…