Repost from 2/21/15
Valentine’s Day used to be so easy – you’d buy a box of small cards with your favorite character and fill them out with the names of your classmates. Now it’s not enough just to have a cute little card, you also must have a piece of candy, pencil or tattoo. Some kids (ahem, parents) take it to the next level and hand make 20+ Valentines with decorations, witty sayings and clever “gifts”. It’s enough to drive a parent crazy!
This week in first grade we didn’t have a spelling test due to parent teacher conferences. So instead I helped the students hand out their Valentine cards. The teacher (and a helper) had decorated cereal boxes for each student and lined them up in the hall. One by one each child came out and placed their Valentines into their classmate’s box.
First grade is a special year because the kids can finally address the cards themselves and read the names on each box. One by one they took out their treasured cards with care, making sure the pencil, candy or sticker was attached perfectly before dropping it in the box. Most of the girls took their time, not wanting any help, enjoying every moment. Even the new boy, who doesn’t speak much English, carefully matched the candy with the name and selected a specific pencil for each classmate before dropping it in the box.
It was such a simple task, almost a throw away moment, but reflecting on it now fills me with joy because I know the kids got it. They understand with their youthful innocence that February 14th is first and foremost about showing someone you care about them. It really is that simple.
A heart is such a simple shape. Beneath the simplicity, it is so complex. Our heart is our life. It beats faster when we are excited, happy, scared or anxious. It fills us up with pride, love and emotions. When we are sad it can feel as if it has literally turned into a stone in the center of our chest. Our heart radiates these feelings through us like a pebble dropping in a still pond, rippling from the inside out, washing over everyone we encounter. Our heart talks to us and guides us, if we listen.
Writing about love and hearts is hard to do without quoting a line from a song, movie or book - All you need is love, The Power of Love, Listen to your Heart, Love Actually – the list goes on and on. The need to feel love, to give love and to try to understand love is universal. Life without love? I just don’t think that’s how it is meant to be. We’re all in this together, to love and support each other through thick and thin. And if you have any doubts, I know some first graders who can show you the true meaning of friendship, love and caring.
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.