By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99
This coming Sunday is the annual day where we express love to those close to us or to those who we want to be close to us. In the past I was always amazed by the deliveries to the high school. The office resembled a flower shop on Valentine’s Day. Vases, baskets, balloons, and Teddy bears made it look like Cupid exploded inside the school. Upon coming to Nashville High School, however, I found that school policy doesn’t allow Valentine deliveries.
Quite honestly, I have always had mixed feelings about celebrating Valentine’s Day at school. As a matter of fact, in one of my districts, we allowed high school deliveries but did not allow Valentine deliveries at the elementary and middle school. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great when parents express love to their children. The more frequent the expression, the better.
The reason for the delivery ban was two fold. First, deliveries caused a disruption of the day. There was a constant answering of the door by the secretaries then, in addition to the hundred or so things they juggled on a regular day, they had to keep track of what delivery went where and to who. The second reason was more humanitarian in nature. We observed that, for many kids, they received so many gifts that there was no way they could carry their presents home. On the other hand, my heart broke when I saw the look on the faces of those children who received nothing throughout the day. There was the knock on the classroom door. Each child eagerly anticipated that their delivery had arrived. Then, there was disappointment as the one child got their third, fourth, fifth, present while the desk of another child continued to be empty. The scenario repeated after each knock. At the end of the day, several children struggled to carry their prizes home. Other children received nothing. They walked the hallways in their same worn coats and shoes carrying their same tattered notebooks wondering why they weren’t seen as special enough to get a delivery.
High school students experience disappointment during Valentine’s Day as well. With maturity comes an increased ability to handle disappointment. While being overlooked on Valentine’s Day stings, a high school student will often understand the limited resources that many parents, boyfriends, and girlfriends have in providing luxuries to the ones they love. High school students generally have an understanding that elementary and middle school students lack.
Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year so, unless schools across the country allow deliveries to be made on the preceding Friday, maybe the less fortunate children will be spared the heartache of this day. A day to celebrate love is commendable. However, maybe a day of compassion is what is needed. Children deserve to be shown love 365 days out of the year regardless of their age. While not all parents can afford massive amounts of gifts, every parent can afford to give a hug to their child and tell them that they are the most special gift they, as a parent, will ever receive.