Happy Valentine’s Day
This week, we celebrate Valentine’s Day, and I have enjoyed seeing the candy, cards, and Cupids that emerged immediately after Christmas. This is a fun time when I am reminded to tell the people I love how much they mean to me and how thankful I am to have them in my life.
Often Valentine’s Day is reserved for a special occasion between two lovers. Think of young lovers gazing into one another’s eyes while opening beautiful cards and expensive chocolates. I have learned good lessons, however, about Valentine’s Day from my second-grade daughter and from the Finnish.
Like many elementary school students, my daughter is sharing Valentine’s greetings with all the students in her classroom. Every student is included, and no one is left out. Several days ago, she carefully wrote each student’s name to ensure proper delivery of the Valentine card. She made sure that every student will receive a Valentine greeting on February 14. My daughter even wrote her own name, ensuring that she will receive a Valentine greeting from herself!
And, she prepared a special Valentine for an adult neighbor. She decorated a sheet of paper, wrote a special note on it, and just prior to sealing the envelope, she inserted a $20 bill. Sensing the enormity of this gift for an eight-year-old’s budget, I said that our neighbor would not expect to receive money. But, she insisted that she wanted to give the gift because of their friendship. She hopped on her bike, rode down the street, and gave her adult neighbor the Valentine.
As expected, our telephone rang the next day, and our neighbor said that, while she appreciated the generosity, she did not think she should take money from a child. After thinking about it, my wife and I told her that the gift was given freely and generously, and we believed she should receive it and use it to buy something special.
Extravagant generosity and deep-seated joy – all from an eight-year-old!
In Finland, Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä, which means “Friends Day.” On this day, Finnish people are encouraged to celebrate all their friends, rather than simply their lovers, and exchange greetings with a wide number of people. This is a good reminder that many people enrich our lives, and we can express our appreciation to them at this special time of year.
On Valentine’s Day this year, or perhaps during the coming weeks, you can take time to express gratitude to a number of friends. A card, a handwritten note, or a telephone call would be much appreciated – and it would make your own day brighter!
Happy Valentine’s Day!