(This is part of the reflective Slice of Life feature at Two Writing Teachers. Next month, the entire month is reflective Slices of Life, with prizes and support from other writers. You should join in.)
I was watching my youngest son finish up his class Valentine Day cards. He looked a bit like Michael Jordan, driving to the hoop. His tongue was out; his eyes were narrow; his fingers held the marker as he scribbled more to his picture. He was putting a lot of effort into what he was doing … for what? So that he would have some cards to give out to his classmates, who would have cards to give to him, and all because of a greeting card holiday.
It didn’t help that his teacher sent home a class list last week. If that is not pressure, what is. And my wife and I felt the pressure, too, and urged him to finish up those cards.
I don’t know. Why push Valentine’s Day on schoolchildren? It’s not love. It’s the candy that they want. I would rather have had my son outside, practicing some basketball dribbling (he needs it, believe me) or creating an imaginary world in his tree fort, or reading a book (or having me read him a book) than making cards that will get tossed into a backpack, forgotten by tonight.
Or maybe this is just me.
I had a student in my class ask if she could bring in cupcakes today. I almost told her “no” but then felt like a Grinch or something, so I stilfled that negative impulse, and told her “yes” and she was all happy to be able to do something special for the class. And they do love their cupcakes. Now that, I can understand and support. But the cards? Eh, leave them at home.
Peace (in the flip side),