By Fatima Kazee, mum to a professor, a super hero and a little princess. Part-time wife to a fanatical fisherman. She’s addicted to sneakers, anything chocolatey & is an invaluable member of the Jozikids and Kznkids team.
You don’t have to venture further than your local supermarket or shopping mall to know that Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Look it’s all very pretty, the red, pink and hearts and I’m quite tempted to indulge in a box of chocolates myself, but I really don’t buy it. (Literally) I know, I’m always the cynic, I just feel that love ought to be expressed year round, not with things but more with consistency, caring and special moments.
Love can be expressed in so many different ways, not only materialistically.
Valentine’s for Buddies
And that’s why I’m super impressed with the idea my kids’ school has every year on Valentine’s Day. It’s a tradition called Buddy Day and what happens is that they pair up kids of different ages as buddies. So a little first grader will be buddies with a senior grade child and they get to meet beforehand to get to know each other. Each one talks about their likes and dislikes, hobbies and family. On Valentine’s Day, parents send a little picnic basket for the buddies to share and a little gift for the newfound buddy. We’re encouraged to help the kids make something handcrafted or homemade so it’s a bit more special.
The kids spend some time together enjoying their picnic and from that day onward, they’re buddies! The smaller kids always have a buddy they can look up to, someone they can turn to when they’re sad or lonely and someone they can say hello to during break (that’s quite a cool thing with kids). The older kids have a sense of responsibility and a spirit of nurturing towards the little ones throughout the year and as the years go by, the circle of friendships grow. Kids having friends of a different age teaches them a lot about themselves as well as other qualities that shape and mould them for the future.
This type of activity shows kids that love is not just love in a romantic sense. Love is not just love for your parents or your siblings or your chosen friends. And love can be expressed in so many different ways, not only materialistically.
- Love is taking an interest in someone you wouldn’t normally do
- Love is showing compassion and caring for someone
- Love is being mindful and tolerant
- Love is forgiving even when you’re hurting.
- Love is kindness and affectionate
- Love is simply something that can make someone feel better.
If kids are able to internalise this then I imagine a different future. Not one with constant hate and rage, not one where differences cannot be settled peacefully, not one where whole nations are going hungry and others are suffering obesity.
I think the expectation created by Valentine’s Day and what it’s been made out to be can be heartbreaking, especially for tweens and teens. And even if dashed expectations are part of life, why should we impose them on kids unnecessarily?
“You will learn by reading,
But you will understand with LOVE.”– Rumi