Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Valentine's Bill of Rights

In the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime
 will matter as much as the way
 we have loved one another. 
–Daphne Rose Kingman

I recently read an essay, "Courtesy is kindness in action," by Michael Josephson on his Character Counts website. (Click on the link for the whole essay.) It says, in part:
As a society we have become almost obsessed with identifying and asserting our rights – to think, say, and do what we want. That’s not surprising, given the history of our country and the prominent role the Constitution and Bill of Rights have played in shaping our culture. We have a right to be unkind, thoughtless, and disrespectful – but it isn’t right. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson pointed out, “Life is short but there is always time for courtesy.”
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we would remember Emerson's simple thought?

“Life is short but there is always time for courtesy.”

When we were in grade school, we had to give a Valentine to every member of the class. Even if "that boy" teased me unmercifully about my weight or my hair or my green tights, I was supposed to put a Valentine in his box. (I must admit that I would find the least sappy Valentine from the box I'd carefully selected from the dimestore at Pratt. I would adhere to the rules, but I didn't have to give him the best Valentine.)
My first grade class at Byers Grade School - all 5 of us. Some years, there were 3! I'm second from the left.
The same philosophy prevailed in Jill's and Brent's elementary days, too: Everyone in the class got a card dropped into their Valentine mailbox, carefully constructed from a shoebox, construction paper and doily hearts. 
What would happen if we treated each other with a little unconditional friendship - not only on Valentine's Day, but every day?
Maybe Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten should be required reading for adults. I personally didn't learn anything in kindergarten, since Byers Grade School didn't offer it). But, whether you're a first grader or a more "mature" student of life, Fulghum has the right idea:
  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Be aware of wonder.
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Isn't it worth a try?

Open your hearts to the love God instills . . . 
God loves you tenderly. 
What He gives you is not to be kept under lock and key,
 but to be shared.
 –Mother Teresa

If you want to try the whole warm cookie theory on this Valentine's Day, try these White Chocolate Blondies. A bar cookie is great for a last-minute gift to say, "Thinking of you," "Be my valentine" or "Lots of love."

This was first posted on Kim's County Line on Valentine's Day last year. I thought it was worth a repeat. Happy Hearts Day!

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