(I wrote most of this post two years ago. We celebrated Valentine’s Day early this year since our winter break begins tomorrow. I took some pictures to spice up the old post and I added a few things about this year’s celebration.)
Valentines Day can be a kind of mine field if you work with teens. Those who are in relationships are happy and expectant while those who are not can be sad and grumpy. If they have recently broken up with someone it can be worse. I have seen girls cry all day on the 14th of February. There is another name for St. Valentine’s Day: Single Awareness Day. The fact that the first letters of that title spell “sad” is probably not an accident.
Thankfully, Valentines Day at Caldwell Academy is different. Many years ago when my oldest son was in high school, we were discussing the fact that Valentines Day was coming up. He groaned and said that he hated to go to school on Valentines Day. Since he was, even then, dating the wonderful girl who is now his wife, I was a bit mystified. He said that he hated the way the girls who didn’t have boyfriends seemed to feel all day. He wanted to do something to make things better, but he was not sure how to go about it. We talked and he decided on a plan. We got to school early on Valentines Day. He had a present for Laura, but he also had a long-stemmed rose for every girl in the Rhetoric School. (There were only about eighteen girls at the time.) He got their locker numbers from the principal and we put a rose in every girl’s locker. I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure it was going to work. It took about two minutes for me to see that I was wrong. The girls glowed. There were squeals of delight and miles of smiles. It was pretty cool.
Since then, the school has grown and so has the tradition. Now the boys all arrive in official uniform: blue blazer, dress shirt, tie and khakis. (They can be a little goofy.)
They meet the girls as they arrive at school, carry their backpacks and escort them to class. Today, because it was raining, they met them with umbrellas. Each girl gets a rose and later in the morning the boys bring them fresh, heart-shaped Krispy Creme donuts.
All of the girls get a hand written note from one of the guys in their class telling them how much they are appreciated. The girls feel honored and they love it!
The boys met last night and decorated the hall with posters, streamers, and cheesy but fun decorations.
They also moved the tables in my room into a heart shape and wrote notes to the girls on my white board. They even made sure the notes applied to what we are studying now.
Later, the girls were treated to a special program full of skits, poetry readings, songs and romantic film clips. Two of the teachers told their love stories. The guys did a phenomenal job.
Graduates miss being at Caldwell on Valentine’s Day, and seniors are very aware that their senior Valentine’s Day will be their last. It’s very special.
The day I used to dread is one of my favorite days of the year now. My classes are currently memorizing I Corinthians 13. These verses are a great reminder every day as we start class about what love really is and what it really means. We all need to consider the feelings of others. We need to put ourselves in the place of our brothers and sisters, and treat people the way we would like to be treated. I know we won’t get this down perfectly until we get to heaven, but it’s worth working on it in the meantime. Happy Valentine’s Day!