Valentines in Kindergarten

(When I re-read what I posted this time last year, I realized I can’t say it any better.  So, here it is again.  Maybe this will become my annual “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus”.)

Kindergarten was awful at first, then wonderful. My first kindergarten teacher had a temper problem and shouted at the kids from the first day.  I got beat up in the cloakroom, and she wouldn’t do anything about it.  This went on daily for a few weeks until my mom got me transferred to another school.  It’s been so long that I can’t remember anything else about that first school except for being shouted at, threatened and hit.  The second school was wonderful.  It was built in 1909 out of brown brick and dark wood in a kind of imitation Tudor/Gothic style.  I went to school there for five years, through fourth grade.

It was not a high-achieving school.  It was a place where they put old, experienced teachers out to pasture.  Fortunately, there’s more of value in life than having high test scores.  The old ladies and gentlemen who taught there knew this, and passed it on to their pupils.  At this school I learned about other countries, cultures and religions, how to be respectful and courteous, and a lot about American history.  I also gained a great appreciation for the arts, which I’ve never lost.

A week or so before February 14th we were told we would have a party for Valentine’s Day.  I didn’t really know much about it, but I hadn’t known much about Hanukkah either until they introduced it to us the previous December, and that had been really interesting.  I was game.  Our teacher explained that it wasn’t a historical holiday like Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, but an honorary holiday.  It’s a day people have chosen to honor something, and it has rituals, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah.  Isn’t that a genteel, positive way of explaining it to a five year old?  Those teachers put the best spin on everything.

They must have contacted our parents with details, because we went shopping for Valentine’s Day cards.  These weren’t the big cards you opened up, with jokes or sentiments inside (and maybe money if they were from your grandparents).  These were little cards made from a single piece of paper.  There were ones shaped like cupid, and illustrations of flowers, and lots of variations of heart designs.  They contained simple, generic statements like “A Valentine for You” or “My Friend”.  We needed to buy enough for everyone in class.  I still didn’t have a clue why we were doing this, but the cards were colorful and I was curious to have the mystery explained come the fateful day.

Our Valentine’s Day party was at the end of the week, only two days after Lincoln’s birthday, so it was a busy week.  We were still kind of in Lincoln mode, and the walls still had his silhouette and photographs on them.  However, a new art theme appeared as the week went on.  We put up red streamers, and drew hearts and flowers and cupids to put up, and we cut out heart shapes with our round-edged scissors.  On the day of the party, our teacher wrote LOVE on the blackboard in very large letters.  She told us that love was important, that it made life meaningful, and that people who don’t get enough are hurt from the lack of it.  I’ll bet you know some of those people.  I do.

We all went around the classroom, selecting a card from the ones we had brought to place on each desk.  When the Valentines were all handed out, we went back to our seats to enjoy looking at the piles of colorful cards, which now represented something for us.  It was a gesture.  It was a way to honor something important.

Whether you are with others on Valentine’s Day, or alone, whether you choose to give remembrances in a tangible form, or whether you prefer to offer yours by saying it, touching someone, or just doing something nice, I hope each one of you may find a way to honor love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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18 Comments

Filed under Communications, Emotions, Ethics and Morality, Self-Esteem

18 responses to “Valentines in Kindergarten

  1. Ahh….

    But what about Cupid? Where’s Cupid?

    (I’m not going to bug you about Eros, I promise.)

    Hearts and more hearts,

    LB

  2. Cat

    A very happy Valentine’s Day to one of my favourite eFriends! Hope you get lots of hot wifey action. (I kid.) (Though not entirely.)

  3. Himself and I made a pact shortly after we married that we would “Do Valentines” on as many days of the year that we liked but NOT on February 14th.
    The price of flowers triples, chocolates are a mixed blessing as we are finding that it takes more exercise than it used to to shift the calories and we are just so against the whole “commercialism” of it all.
    Little Mr. ran inside after school early last week and entirely on his own asked if we could “knutsel” (that’s cut, paste, draw, stamp, stick, glue in English) and that he needed to because he wanted to make Valentines Cards.
    So some coloured paper, cut out shapes and some messy glue later, he has a card for his favourite teacher, godmother and Oma (Grandmother) and they sport his most romantic phrase ever (Thank You playground playfellows) “Tweet tweet tweet, I think you’re sweet”… stamps are afixed to two of them and the postman will deliver but the teacher one he was bursting to give early so it was left on her desk last Thursday.
    No mass production, just a few choice recipients and a hand-made card from the heart.
    Himself and I “bought” each other a donation to the little charity for disabled kids we support. The biggest gift of Love after all, is that it can be shared.

    • Yes, we act much as you do, Kiwi. We try to buy little, but do more in the service of each other, and of all. Each day is not equal, but every day can be made more special. It’s marvelous to hear about your son’s creative actions to make those in his esteem feel beloved.

  4. Deborah

    No, you couldn’t have said it any better, Mikey. I missed this last year – glad you posted it again.

    • I was only into my second month of blogging, and it was the first post where I began to feel my “voice” as a writer, a way to put things more simply and intimately. Kind of a mystical experience. Glad you enjoyed it.

  5. This was really beautiful, Mikey. Reminded me how important a little simple tenderness is.

    • You certainly deserve some, Myra. Your romantic misadventures are funny to read, but I wish you had less reason to write them. I expect you will be just as amusing when you do get more of what you’re after.

  6. Uh oh, I’ve been away, but am now caught up, but sorry anyway.
    I loved this, and the first time you posted it I had yet to venture into the thrilling world of blogging (I started in March, so it was probably March or April that I found your blog. In fact, you probably were my first reader!).
    Valentine’s was so much much more fun as a kid. Sometime I found some of my little Valentine’s day cards from around kindergarten. S0 cool!
    I’m glad your mom got you out of that first school.

    • Me too, Lisa. It gave me the chance to progress from damaged goods to damaged, but interesting. You’re welcome to read whenevah – no deadline here.

      • I am pretty sure I follow over 100 blogs. There are some really nice, really talented folks, but you are one of my favorite-favorites. Your writing is in the best of the best.

        Oh, dare I mention, but I’ve been published on Dewonthekudzu dot net. I wrote it out because sometimes wordpress will flag links for spam. You likely read the story though. Old lady finds old framed mirror. Other old lady watches her from her window and remarks to her cat how frame lady is crazy. Frame lady goes home, talks to her dead husband that she thinks old lady w/ cat is crazy. The end. It was scintillating stuff.
        Before that I got my day in the life of lisa told by Jane Austen on Funny Not Slutty, which was a delightful commentary on mundane life, with a moral saying “quit being mean to illegal aliens.” I was put in the editors favorites, so was pleased.
        My therapist thought I should submit some junk. A couple of my really talented humor pals do it, but am yet to come up with something not already in my repetoire of blog posts. The very day my therapist said that, one of the poetry folks wanted a poem of mine on her mental health advocacy site and I took it as a sign.

        I bet though that 2 sites I submitted stuff to have rejected me. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

        • You have tons of good material percolating inside you, Lisa. I saw that the first time I read your work. You deal with constraints, obstacles and a lack of financial resources. For the gifted, that’s a recipe for comedy of the highest order. Keep submitting. I’m not the only reader with taste.

  7. Nice. You made me remember Cathy. A cute little girl in Grade one. She brought me a Valentine and then beat me up. She musta liked me. Thanks.

  8. Really great and really touching! Sadly, there was a time when I now realize I was loved more selflessly than anybody else has ever loved me and I never knew it until I found some things out long afterward. It still haunts me that I never got to show that woman the kind of tenderness she deserved.

    • Understanding and accepting the things we should regret makes us better people in the long run. You can show it to another woman now, just as she will surely have passed on her gift to another man.

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