In elementary school, it was Valentine’s Day mailboxes and adorable Valentine’s Day parties for the class. In middle school, right about the time when kids got interested in “romantic” love, there were endless opportunities to prove your undying devotion to a crush—or kiss the popular girls’ asses—by sending Valentine’s carnations.
The carnations cost only a dollar, and I vividly remember sending a handful to my group of girlfriends every year. I don’t remember ever receiving a carnation from a boy or a special Secret Admirer, though I secretly hoped year after year.
I know in all of these superfluous carnation exchanges, there were inevitably kids left out. I wasn’t on the most popular rung of the social ladder, so I had some of those feelings. I always wondered why the very popular girls got more carnations from the very popular boys and why a boy had yet to send one to me.
But I survived, and I lived to tell about it. Maybe if my middle school had been more like this ultra-PC elementary school, I never would have had these memories because life would have been fair, fair, fair.
Parents at a New Jersey elementary school tweeted a picture of a Valentine’s Day bulletin sent home from class. Children were only allowed to exchange Valentine cards at school if they brought a card for each classmate.
From my understanding, passing out Valentines to an entire class is a fairly common practice; my two-year-old is doing it at daycare this week. What I’m surprised to see is this new policy of “avoiding hurt feelings” on every major occasion by making classroom interaction 100% fair.
I’m sure we can all agree in the real world that life isn’t fair. While kindergarten may not be the best place to teach the hard knocks of life, kids have to learn some time. Interacting with other kids, taking a risk in professing your undying love, and sometimes going home empty-handed—this is all part of the process. Shielding kids from hurt feelings takes the fun out of Valentine’s Day and isn’t doing them any favors.
(photo: Getty Images)