Differences in how students understand Valentine’s

Be Blissful

In middle school and high school, there are two very distinctive attitudes about Valentine’s Day; middle schoolers hand out valentines and treats, and high schools (typically, overall) despise Valentine’s Day.

There is a pile of treats on my desk from the middle school students that have already made their way through my class today. As I type this in between classes, one of my 8th graders brought me a mug that says, “The Queen” because she thought of me when she saw it – and put my favorite candy in it. I am so lucky.

But, the group of high schoolers that followed them are having a spirited discussion about how Valentine’s Day is money-making scheme. We are not big on Valentine’s Day at my house either, so I can’t say I blame the high school students for having a bad attitude about the “holiday.” I don’t need one single day dedicated to love, in order to tell the people that I love that I love them. I am free with my “Love you’s.”

Several years ago, I emailed our school counselor about a question I had, and I signed the e-mail “Love you bye” which is my standard sign-off when I was emailing my Mom. Super embarrassing. As a joke I started telling my classes, “Love you bye!” This was when the current senior class was in middle school, and this habit really stuck with them. They do not hesitate to hollar, “Love you bye!” as they leave my room. Many other grades picked up on this and now, it is standard when they leave my room. “Love you bye, Ms. French!”

My son thinks this is weird. Which maybe it is a little. But honestly, don’t we all need a little extra love in our lives? What about the kids that never hear, “Love you!” Doesn’t it make your heart feel good knowing that someone cares about you?

I told my son that not all families are the same. Not all parents hug their kids every day. They may not tell their kids that they love them every day. They may not hear kind words. (I am one of those mushy Mom’s that tells her son she loves him all the time, and squeezes him tight and loves him fiercely all the time… whether he likes it or not!). The idea that there are families different than his kind of floor him. That’s really a thing? He thought I was kidding.

Although I am technically not supposed to know because in theory it should be a surprise, I am the yearbook adviser so it is inevitable that I find out, that the senior class dedicated their last yearbook to me. They fill out ballots and write their reasons on there as well, and when voting was finished and they told me, I begged them to let me read the ballots.

Two stood out in particular: “She loves us in and out of school,” followed by, “She’s Mom.” My number one hat at school is “English Teacher,” but I feel like in a close second is, “Mom.” In some of their most formative years, they need someone to come complain to, bounce ideas off of, cry to, find Kleenex, and get a snack from – those are mom things. Sometimes you just need someone to say, “Love you bye!” as you head out into your day.

Ultimately, Valentine’s Day doesn’t hold much value to me. The day to say I love you and I care about you – that is every day. Every day is a good day to say I love you.