Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be My Valentine

Maybe Valentine's Day would be a good day to dust off the New York Times bestselling book from 20-some years ago, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

In it, author Robert Fulghum explains how the world would be a better place if adults adhered to the same basic rules as kindergarten-aged children, like sharing and being kind to one another.

I didn't learn much in kindergarten: At tiny Byers Grade School, there was no kindergarten class. We started our school journey in first grade. But Valentine's Day did provide a lesson in how we'd all like to be treated: We had to give a Valentine to each classmate. No leaving out any pesky boy who teased me about my red tights.

(I'm second from the left, and it appears I'm wearing the red tights!)

Before Valentine's Day, we carefully cut out pink and red paper hearts and used our Elmer's Glue bottles to adhere them to shoeboxes. Mrs. Bond cut a slot in the top of the lid to make a Valentine's mailbox, which we perched on our desks. Other years, the teacher might give us a white paper sack, and we'd liberally decorate with crayon hearts and cutout cupids. We'd hang them with a piece of tape from the edge of our desks and wait anxiously for holiday greetings from our classmates. If we were lucky, someone might include a heart-shaped sucker along with the holiday card.

My Mom let each of us choose our box of Valentines from the store. I'm sure I very deliberately considered my options in an effort to choose just the right box. I also contemplated which Valentine to give to each classmate. That pesky boy needed a generic greeting, and I wanted to give just the right one to each of my female friends.

Each Valentine's Day, Jill and Brent chose their box of cards, too. A few are still in a box in the cabinet, and I use some each year for this and that. It's fun to look back and think about the choices they made at the time - a football theme for Brent or Barbies for Jill.

We had the same rule at our house. Every class member had to get a Valentine - no matter what.

And wouldn't the world be a better place if we treated each other with a little unconditional friendship? And not only on Valentine's Day, but every day.

As Robert Fulghum would say:
  • 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.
And just in case you want to test the whole warm cookie theory on this Valentine's Day, try these Blonde Brownies. Top them with heart sprinkles, and you're sure to win a heart or two.

Or put a little pink frosting and Valentine sprinkles on sugar cookies and share the love.

What do you remember about your grade school Valentine celebrations?

I'm linked today to Two Maids a Baking and Crazy for Crust: Crazy Sweet Tuesday. Check out the other recipes at those sites!

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