Happy Valentine’s Day! Not much is known about St. Valentine, but it doesn’t matter, because this really isn’t a saint’s day. Reason fades into the shadows as the heart has its day. City corners may be occupied by vendors with roses, balloons, and burgundy bears, but the heart holds its own in the marketing world’s swirl of lace and silk. The heart keeps it simple: “You are my friend.” This day is for everyone; it is the high holy day of love and friendship. In the classroom, this is our most inclusive holiday. The heart finds a way.
A high holy day (in any tradition) has rituals. This is true in the classroom too. In a red and white flurry of doilies and construction paper, hearts and stickers, tulle and ribbon, friendship is sweetened with heart shaped cookies and conversation hearts; Hershey’s kisses and Hugs; red lollipops and chocolates wrapped in pink foil. White bags are decorated and then stand on the corner of each desk waiting. The passing out of valentines is an old dance where there are no wallflowers. Everybody is invited and everybody is included.
Everybody goes home with a bag that is overflowing with friendship. It is an act of hope for our world.
We did all of this on Friday. But we did something else too. And I already know this will find a place among the cherished traditions and rituals in this classroom culture. Every child wrote their name on a slip of paper and put it in a red box. I passed out stationery and pink envelopes to be decorated. Each child drew a name. Letters were written and exchanged. Envelopes were ripped open. As the letters were read, smiles grew. The room seemed brighter in a silence filled with written words.
Tell someone you love them today. Or better yet… write them a note. Thank them for their friendship. The heart finds a way. Today the heart has its day.