Boy, isn't that Valentine's Day contrived

HOW did your Valentine’s Day play out? Watchers of my social media channels will know that I have nothing to complain about, for once.

This year, aside from roses I was treated to a flashback. My daughter experiencing her first Valentine’s Day at high school, triggered it for me and I realised how early in our lives the pressure for romance and coupledom comes along.

Hopping into the car when school finished on Valentine’s Day, she told me that kids were getting flowers today, but she didn’t get one. I told her that she need not worry about it, as she has only been at the school about a minute and this is the kind of thing the senior kids do, right? 

When I was at high school you could send a plastic rose anonymously (or not) to your Valentine, it was a P&C fundraiser and excruciatingly they were handed out publicly by the school captains.

Awkward.

I can still recall how I held out hope that I’d be handed one of these cheap plastic flowers.

Even though I did not have an admirer, at the time it never occurred to me how illogical this desire was, especially considering that in those first four years of high school, I wasn’t even interested in boys.

I thought boys were stinky beasts until I was around 16 - and it turns out I was right.

Still, I hoped and wanted that surprise display of affection. And I now know that on Thursday it was very likely my daughter was feeling exactly the same way.

While I’m not saying we should do away with a bit of Valentine’s Day fun, I just think we should question it a little.

The sting of my high school rejection at the age of 13 put one thought in my head; being in a relationship means gifts. I also saw happiness and I wanted in on that.

I think we all know that’s how a kid thinks, and it put a value on relationships for me of the wrong kind.

It took me a long time to work that out. We need to teach our children that they need not feel that they are defined by being part of a couple, nor is it a status to be achieved.

Next Valentine’s I intend remind my daughter of the unconditional love she has already from her family, and tell her to celebrate herself in her own way.

Then maybe she won’t have to face the day feeling much like the martyr who was beheaded on February 14th, giving Valentine’s Day its name. Now isn’t that romantic? 

However, there is a really good thing to come from all this, and it’s the very best part of these commercially manufactured love days, it is the day that follows. Cheap chocolate Friday in every supermarket!

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