It’s that time of the year again when love is more than ever in the air. Red balloons, red roses and red colour can be seen everywhere. Relationships and commitments are professed, secret admirers pop up and everyone is more ‘in love’ than ever before!
Restaurants have special dinner deals for couples and retail stores have something special for this day too. Even the morning shows on local channels celebrate this day with undeniable pomp and fare. Every year the celebrations seem to go up a notch.
Yes, I am talking about Saint Valentine’s Day or more popularly known as Valentine’s Day!
With the explosion of social media in our lives, everybody including children has become very aware (too aware?!) of this day. Even younger children, who are not eligible to BE on social media but have created accounts with false data and the permission of their parents, have a keen eye for such events and celebrations. What’s more is that some schools celebrate such days and in fact, children are encouraged to participate in them.
Now some of you may have a different point of view as to why this shouldn’t be encouraged or even ask, “What’s the harm?” After all, with so much negativity and hatred in the world, this one day is all about love, right? And honestly there is no ‘harm’ as such but as with all things it is only when things go overboard, that problems arise. And we all know how easy it is for things to go overboard on V-Day!
At some schools and universities, preparations are underway as early as a fortnight before. Boys leave no stone unturned in pursuing the ‘love of their life’ and girls are all ready to woo their ‘knight in shining armour’. It’s fine as long as it’s kept personal, in my opinion, but when educational institutions turn it into an event, is where I have a problem.
And the reason is very simple and logical. The financial crunch that a student may have to bear on this particular day can take a toll on some of them. All students do not belong to a sound financial background and may not be able to afford the gifts which are expected by their sweethearts (especially in these times of comparisons and social media pressure).
And frankly, at this point one doesn’t even know if it is love or mere infatuation. Moreover, there may be more than one person pursuing a particular girl and it can result in fierce competitions. Children, whether they are pre-teens, teenagers or college students do not have the emotional regulation to handle rejection or competition and we all know how quickly fights over the ‘love of their life’ can take a turn for the worse.
Jealousy can creep in even between best friends, for instance, when girls show off their presents and all the love showered on them; and obviously no one can match the ‘happiness’ of the Valentine’s Day queen who receives the most number of red roses. Yes, this happens too!
Has anyone thought about that timid, intelligent but perhaps, not-so-pretty girl? How does she feel when surrounded by all those red roses but has none in her hands? Such things can shatter children’s confidence, sometimes for life. It is obvious that Valentine’s Day in educational institutions is nothing more than a gauge for beauty and popularity. So negative emotions gain more momentum than positive and can have a life-long impact on individuals.
We all know that children learn much more than just academics from educational institutions. If our educational institutions are able to highlight the banes of celebrating this one day with so much enthusiasm, we might be able to salvage our children who are otherwise, on the brink of adapting anything and everything from other cultures. It is high time that schools and colleges stop promoting such festivals to minimise the burden on parents and children as these celebrations demand hefty spending and can take an emotional toll. We, as parents, can also tell our children about the importance of love and respect in ALL relationships and at ALL times.
Let’s celebrate love everyday with our loved ones.
Let everyday be Valentine’s Day!