What’s the big deal about today?

I suffer a from an ailment that apparently a lot of bloggers and writers suffer from. There apparently isn’t a scientific name but it can generally be described as a situation where you develop this elaborate rant in your head, complete with flourishes, imagery and wit but the connection from your head to verbalization is apparently damaged. Such is the case for today’s post.

In my head, I had this very coherent argument about the ills of Valentine’s Day – Capitalism and the media’s perversion of the once religious holiday and how it’s transformed into an $18.6 Billion dollar bonanza on luxury goods, over-priced meals and flowers that are marked up 300%. In my head I was all worked up about how messages like “Every Kiss begins with Kay” or “Show her you love her with Tiffany’s”. If this is taken literally, these messages completely demean relationships and suggest that on the one hand, I can be a total jerk every other day but on this day, here, take this trinket…we good? And on the other hand, it suggest that love can only be measured by WHAT and WHERE you got me something from! Sounds highly superficial and shallow to me. In my head, I was incensed at the thought that the perversion of this day, coupled with the equally damaging messaging, could be harming our children’s perception about love and healthy relationships. In my head, my heart aches as I contemplated on how this day can be confusing and potentially damaging to young children who may or may not get a “proper” example of a functioning relationship at home. How love is immediately and irrevocably tied to faint and waning materialism to the point where even the word “love” holds as much value as the passive aggressive, insincere, eye rolling “love ya” you see most adolescent girls give to their “frenemies”.

But alas, as I sat down to record my diatribe, my ability to coherently express what I was truly feeling, read more like a grumpy old man that had one too many bad Valentine’s Days. I felt like the true essence of my thoughts would be lost in the muck and the mire of the criticism of this day and my post would be reduced to just a few ramblings about how commercialism is bad. And that would just be unfortunate if that was all you took away from today’s post.

The truth of the matter is, I do love this day. I love the spirit of this day and the mood that it puts people in. This is one of the few days of the year where the notion of doing some form of “good” for someone else is center stage. And I love this day even more so now that I am a Father – to experience this day through the eyes of a child is too adorable. But ultimately, what led me to write this post in the first place is, I feel like we parents need to instill in our children that this day does not dictate our behavior, but rather, our everyday nature to love one another is celebrated on this day. We should reject the notion that this day tells us how to show affection for loved ones and embrace the fact that love and affection for those we care about is a year-long affair. Our children need to understand the value and necessity of positive relationships. We need to help them understand that what they see and hear about this day are just suggestions about showing love but not THE way to show love to one another. Like most everything else, it is up to us to combat the messages that bombard our lives leading up to this day and be the examples we were meant to be for our children.

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