My memories of Valentine’s day are not positive ones, are yours?

My memories of Valentine’s day as a child are not positive ones. My mother always made sure that we had a card for everyone in our class and with four kids this was no easy task for her. She did this for a number of reasons, mainly though it was because of what had happened to my younger brother one year. In his class of around 25 to 30 children, he received one Valentine’s Day card. It not only broke my brother’s heart, but it broke my mother’s too.

My brother was born with a cleft palette so he looked different, looking different forty-five odd years ago was not a good thing and he was teased a lot. His cleft palette also added a lisp when he spoke thus requiring speech therapy (our other younger sibling copied the way our brother spoke, so he too ended up having speech therapy). The cleft palette needed numerous operations over the years, then he lost his hearing in one of his ears (due to an infection during one of his hospital stays) requiring more surgeries. So receiving one card at school in front of children who didn’t want to be your friend was at the time, the end of the world.

When my kids started elementary school I explained to them my reasons for always writing out cards to every single child in their class, friend or not. I would ask them how they would feel if they received only one card, because there were and sadly still teachers who allow this to happen. Of course you may ask how can they stop it? Well you could ban the practice of giving out Valentine’s Day cards, but I’m sure that would not go over well with some. Then there are parents who maybe can’t afford to buy cards for everyone and worse yet, there are parents who will say my child doesn’t like so and so, so I will not make him/her write a card out for that person. Whatever the reason is, we as adults should not allow it to happen.

When one of my children did not like someone in their class we would always talk about why? If they said that child was mean, we would try to figure out the reasons. Sometimes, I explained that a child may be a bully because they are unhappy at home, or their parents were bullies and they learned that behaviour from them. Now I am no saint nor are my children, who is for that matter, but I have always tried to let my children see the other side of the coin.

So when Valentine’s Day arrives this year, as adults let us try to make it a positive experience for every child in the classroom.

25 thoughts on “My memories of Valentine’s day are not positive ones, are yours?

  1. Diane @ AJFashionJewellery

    Your way of thinking is very healthy and we should all share it. I think that Valentine’s Day, besides being a holiday celebrated with your husband, should be one celebrated with the entire family, teaching our kids to expresses their love and be more tolerant.

    Reply
    1. Catherine Burden Post author

      Thanks, and yes Valentine’s day should be celebrated with the entire family, when possible. With two of mine away at university, they celebrated together with a lovely dinner accompanied by friends.

      Reply
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  3. Frank

    Cheers to passing on to your children … and we hope they do the same with theirs. Society needs more parents realizing that teaching important life lessons is more important that covering for them.

    Reply
    1. Catherine Burden Post author

      When my husband and I decided to have children, falling into the parenting role was easy for both of us because we both wanted children and to be part of every aspect, good & bad.

      Reply
  4. Actually Mummy...

    Wow! I would so be boycotting that practice! Thank goodness the kids here don’t do that. Occasionally I am made to sneak a card through a letterbox on behalf of my children, and they may or may not get one back in the same way, but they’re never exchanged at school.
    No wonder your kids are so cool, with parenting techniques like yours 🙂

    Reply
  5. Anne Stone

    Oh my, I’m glad we don’t do that here. i don’t even think that Valentines Day is suitable for children. I wouldn’t be happy for my children to give or receive cards, especially at school. Saying that, they do know about Valentines Day and sometimes they like to make cards…..for their mummy!

    Reply
    1. Catherine Burden Post author

      Valentine’s Day is a very large commercial racket here. As soon as Christmas is over the Valentine’s Day cards and everything else is all over the stores. I like the idea of homemade cards and that is how it should be for mom and dad.

      Reply
  6. LindySez

    I remember watching as other kids “bags” filled with cards. I got a few, but not many. My mother was a German war bride and spoke “funny”. We had “strange” eating habits. We were “different”. I always made sure my children gave a card to everybody, they could give the mushy ones to the ones they like the best, but each kid got one. Like them or not.

    Reply
    1. Catherine Burden Post author

      As a redhead, who was teased a lot in grade school and high school. this tradition of giving out cards on Valentine’s day should be stopped”. I like your attitude “I always made sure my children gave a card to everybody, they could give the mushy ones to the ones they like the best, but each kid got one. Like them or not.” You are a wonderful mother.

      Reply
  7. josandelson

    Thank goodness we don’t have that tradition over here (yet). Though similar at Xmas where kids posted cards in homemade postbox at school. Fantastic of you to help your kids to see ‘other side of the coin’. Easier to look away and complain about the ‘mean’ kids than address the real issues … Hope your bro’ grew up to have confidence in himself.

    Reply
    1. Catherine Burden Post author

      I think Valentine’s day is a horrible tradition, plus it is so commercialized too. The other side of the coin worked tremendously well with my children, they still use it today with friends/non-friends. My brother has grown up quite well, he made terrific friends at a job he held during highschool, and they are still his friends today.

      Reply
  8. Izzie Anderton

    The dishing out of Valentine’s cards to every member of the class in primary school isn’t something that’s done over in the UK. But I always insisted that my daughters sent Christmas cards to everyone and yes, we as adults should make sure that no one gets left out.

    Reply
    1. Catherine Burden Post author

      I do think it is a ridiculous practice of giving out Valentine’s Day cards, it would be far better to just have a party to discuss the importance of friendship, and how bullying is bad.

      Reply
  9. becomingcliche

    Every teacher had an iron clad rule that every kid got a card from everyone. Lists went home. I was an unpopular kid, but on Valentine’s day, I never knew it. I got so many cards, and some of them had CANDY on them!

    Reply
  10. petchary

    I think it’s a very uncomfortable day for many children… I never enjoyed it and have actually never celebrated it personally! Now every day is Valentine’s Day for me and hubby!

    Reply
    1. Catherine Burden Post author

      I love it – everyday is Valentine’s Day for you and hubby, wonderful. 🙂

      I don’t celebrate it, but for some reason my husband continues too by always getting me a card and flowers. He is sweet. The day though, just makes me feel bad for all the kids who will be sad. Maybe that is why he buys me flowers to cheer me up. Again, he is sweet.

      Reply

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