Thursday, February 12, 2015

Forced Romance

It's going to be an interesting day.

Traditionally, my kids have taken Valentine's Day cards to their classmates every year in elementary school. My wife and I enjoyed buying the inexpensive,  simple cards, usually sporting whichever Disney movie or video game that was popular for that year. The cards held clichéd sentiments, and the recipients felt special for a few moments.

As my girls grew older, they formed strong friendships with certain classmates, a respectable camaraderie with others, but they did not like all of the kids in their classes. And that was understandable, expected.

We can't expect to like everyone.

And yet, on February 14, like all good little sheep, the kids were expected to give out messages of warmth and love.

"I don't want to give him/her a card," they would tell me, "he/she is always mean to me."

"Then don't," I would reply. "Give cards only to your friends."

"I can't. The teacher says I have to have one for everyone."

What sort of stupid rule is that? Why are kids forced to give something loving on one day a year to someone who they hold no good feelings for every other day of the year? And why would they have to do it on Valentine's Day, a day that is more of a day for lovers?

This day has lost its meaning, I think. It's not about the love you feel for someone, it's about what you can get them. I think a school sends the wrong message when it makes—forces—kids to do something that they don't want to do, in the name of romance.

This year, we didn't buy anything for any of the school kids. My daughter doesn't have to worry about giving a crappy card to someone she doesn't like. Because, that's life.

It's going to be an interesting day.

I look forward to any notes of complaint that the teachers may send. I will gladly address them.

How will I spend Valentine's Day? With the ones I love. Not with anyone I don't. And not on anything we don't need. We're getting away and enjoying our time together. Our family getaway was planned because this coming weekend was a long one, not because of the date. We'll have fun, spend quality time together, and show love for one another.

There will be no forced romance.

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