Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The True Meaning of Valentine's Day


So I realize this post is a bit outdated as Valentine's Day was four days ago, but in my Procrastinator's Handbook the section entitled "Better Late than Never" says you can make up for your untimeliness if you have a reasonable argument for why you don't need to do something on the actual date. Here goes...

My argument is that Valentine's Day has lost its real meaning, just like many of the "holidays" that Americans celebrate. Why is it just one day that we are expected to show our love and affection for others? Shouldn't that be a daily exercise with the loved ones in our lives?

And what real value do we get out of one more gift? I tend to get a stomachache from all the candy. And the flowers? Well, they're probably starting to wilt and possibly smell by about day four (today!).

What's even more insane than just us adults going through this materialistic ritual is that we are also training our kids that you have to give candy or a pencil or some sort of materialistic prize on this day. Why?! This needs to stop! The world is already so filled with unnecessary possessions in some places, while other places are just trying to maintain the basics (water, food, shelter).

Because I have an emerging independent writer in my house who I, in my very "mean mama way," insisted author all of his own Valentine's cards, we started planning for Valentine's Day about mid-January in our house. This led me to feel a very strong tie-in with MLK Day. My kids and I talked so much about peace and love and acceptance on MLK Day, and I believe the true meaning of Valentine's Day should carry a very similar message: love one another and show affection and appreciation with kind words, thoughts and deeds (NOT things).

Here are some un-materialistic ways you can show your appreciation:

  • Say "thank you" whenever someone does something helpful
  • Give a hug whenever you see a friend or family member
  • Write a letter to someone you haven't seen in a while
  • Offer to help a family with their child care needs
  • Ask a neighbor if you can pick up anything for them on your trip to the grocery store
  • Hold the door for someone...even if it means waiting an extra thirty seconds
  • Listen when someone is telling you a story
  • Send a note in to your child's teacher, expressing your appreciation for all that they do

And, again, to off set my procrastination: these things don't have to be kept to a single day. Challenge yourself to do something truly kind and thoughtful every day. Be mindful and grateful for the love and friendship in your life. I know I am.

What is on your kindness "to do" list?