So, one of my students informed me the other day that “It’s almost Valentine’s!!” Now, this was about 3 weeks ago, so I hadn’t even begun to think Valentine’s thoughts yet because it seemed so far away. (And before anyone gets the wrong idea, to a second grade teacher, “Valentine’s thoughts” consist mainly of speculating on how many mugs I’ll get this year and identifying new victims on whom I can unload large numbers of dollar store boxes of chocolates.) Then, last week, this same boy again reminded me that “It’s almost Valentine’s!!!!!” (The increase in exclamation points is a direct representation of the increase in the level of excitement with which he relayed the information.) Again, I was a little dismissive because I still thought I still had plenty of time. But then it dawned on me that it’s only a week away. How the heck did that happen?

Oh, Valentine’s Day. You sneaky little ninja, you!

I guess the reason I wasn’t prepared is that I just don’t find Valentine’s Day that exciting. But, for some reason kids do! You would think I’d stop being surprised or confused by this, but I never do. I mean, they go absolutely nuts! Even the boy who reminded me about Valentine’s Day was surprising. I have some pretty excitable girls, and some boys, in class who I would expect to get worked up about Valentine’s because they get worked up about everything! They bounce off the walls at the first sign of something cute or fun. (The sight of a kitten might just be enough cute to put them into a coma.) So hearts and flowers and chocolates and cards are right up their adorable little alleys. But this kid isn’t really the type. He’s fairly quiet and doesn’t show a whole lot of emotion about things. In fact, when I asked some kids if they were excited for Christmas, he actually shrugged at me.

Yeah, yeah. Presents. Whoopee.

But when he said the word “Valentine’s,” it was like you could see the explosions of pink and red heart-shaped confetti going off in his head. Why?! What is it that is so exciting? Is it the glitz and glamour of pink construction paper decorations? Is it the cheesy little cards covered in Spongebob, Ironman, and every Disney princess ever? Is it the chalky, disgusting candy hearts that help kids express the deepest emotions of their souls?

“I wanted her to text me, but I just never knew how to put it into words!”

Whatever it is that they love so much, Valentine’s Day is very special time for children. It’s a time when kids give gifts to everybody, not just their closest friends. They spread love and kindness to all people, regardless of who they are. And I should really follow that example. So, if you are walking down the street in the late afternoon on February 14th and a dollar store box of chocolates flies at you from a moving car, just know that it’s only me. Spreading love and kindness. You’re welcome.

Life Lesson Learned: Love is in the air…or maybe it’s something in the water!