Tag Archives: love

American Valentine’s Day Traditions: Things Every Expat Mum Should Know (or Ignore).

valentine's day traditionsA letter came home from school last week asking us to decorate a shoe box and make a hole large enough to fit a greeting card. My daughter dutifully created her box ready for the school Valentine’s party. I expected the box to come home with a few cards from her closest friends, until  her younger sister came home from pre-school with a bag laden with goodies. Her bag contained lots of little cards with sweets attached from both her teachers and all of the children at pre-school. Had I missed something somewhere? Was there a letter asking us to bring in Valentine’s treats? I think there was an assumption that we would know what to do – now I feel like the mean, lazy parent.

My eldest went off to school today armed with her box. She returned laden with gifts.

American Valentine Traditions

That explains why we were given a letter with the names of all the children in the class. I assumed it was so we would know how to spell a name if we wanted to send a Valentine to a special friend.

If you want to avoid being the odd one out you need to :

  • Send a card to every child in the class
  • Attach a sweet or small gift to the card
  • Sign your child’s name.

Hold on a moment

Isn’t Valentine’s Day meant to be about showing appreciation for those you love or sending a message to someone you admire? Isn’t it about giving not receiving?

My children came home excited about what they had received. There was no sentiment attached to any of the cards, nobody said ‘I’m giving you this because I think you are a great friend.’ It strikes me as another example of greed and an expectation that we load the children with lots of stuff because no child can be left out. I think my 4-year-old got the sentiment right when she decided it would be nice to send a Valentine to the friends she misses from home to tell them she is thinking about them.

I’m sure next year the girls will want to send Valentine’s to the whole class to fit in with their friends. I’d like to think that they will at least find one nice thing to say about each person they give them to. Isn’t it bad enough that adults are driven to spend 4 times the usual price for flowers just in case their partner is offended? Let children believe it is about love and friendship at least for a little while.

The Happiness Project

mother kissing babyThis week Kate at Kate Takes 5 has been asking the question

What makes you happy?

As adults this is often a difficult question to answer so Kate asked her children.  She has requested that other bloggers do likewise and share their responses over on her blog.

I asked my 7 year old and 3 year old.  I would have deliberated over this question for some time, analysing the true nature of happiness.  When I asked the girls their immediate responses surprised me .

My 7 year old replied

I’m happy when I know that there is someone there who loves me .

My 3 year olds response was

I’m happy when someone kisses me.

Appropriately there seems to be a bit of a Valentine’s theme to my girls measure of happiness.  No mention of material possessions or fun things to do; happiness is about being loved.  They are probably right – life without love is a pretty miserable existence.

I’ll be interested to read what other children think, perhaps it will make us take a step back to re-evaluate what is important in life.