Valentine’s Day is approaching.
Also known as “Singles Awareness Day”, Valentine’s Day is ostensibly a time to celebrate love and romance. Beginning with a Catholic martyr, it didn’t quite hit the radar of the insipidly mushy until Chaucer decided it should be so. Jerk.
Despite my naturally curmudgeonly eye rolls to the saccharine Hallmark expressions, I do have what I consider to be a valid point for parents.
The constant barrage of mixed messages assailing our kids is teaching them that, in order to have worth, they need to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Every advertisement reinforces how to buy love with gifts. The cynic in me goes back to that eye rolling and is reminded of Ron White’s words of wisdom. “Diamonds…that’ll shut her up.”
So yet again, stereotypes are pounded into our kids’ impressionable brains. Girls are materialistic, demanding princesses and boys are lucky to be allowed to worship them and present their hopefully-acceptable gifts. Is this really what you want for your kids?
Parents, when you express loving sentiments or purchase a gift for your partner because the calendar (and every other commercial on television) tells you that it’s February 14th, you’re part of the problem. When love is measured by the number of flowers in the bouquet, or chocolates in the box, or gemstones in the jewelry, you’re part of the problem. When you encourage your kindergarteners to have a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”, it’s not cute, and it’s not harmless. You’re part of the problem.
You’re teaching your kids that love, and also sex, can and should be purchased and owed.
Stop the cycle. Celebrate Valentine’s Day as a day of loving expression to family and friends. Want to give sweets? Do it. But give them to friends instead of trying to buy yourself (or your kid) a romantic partner.
It’s time to grow and evolve. And time to stop sending the message to our kids that love and sex are marketable commodities.