As an old person (but perhaps (admittedly) no wiser in the area of this topic), I found the editorial in the January ECHO rather sad—young people aren’t supposed to be so jaded, and if it was meant to be satirical, I didn’t get the humor.
Love is a vague term; this is true. It is used to describe romantic desires, platonic friendships, familial relationships, religious feelings, tastes and penchants—no wonder we have trouble comprehending its importance; we can’t even figure out what it means! Still, we can attempt to define it, and at its heart, love is sacrifice. This is a concept we rarely enjoy thinking about. Who wants to give something up? When you love, though, you put someone else’s needs before your own—no matter who the someone else is: a child, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a pet, a whole group of people (our students, in the case of teachers).
When you love, you willingly (though perhaps not always happily) give your time, your care, and your energy. So often you share your gifts; you put personal dreams on hold; you drain your emotional needs by encouraging those who need it more.
These things are love. Not the cloying movie romances. Not the flowers and hearts and candy (although even if flowers do die in a week, they have sacrificed for us, we who love to look at them and who attempt to express the inexpressible in giving them).
This love was not some evolutionary development now worthy of our scorn. Perhaps it is not necessary for our physical survival, but it is the only aspect of humanity that makes us treat each other as humans; it is what makes life worth surviving for.
Every day, not just Valentine’s Day, offer someone a considerate comment or a smile. These are the real valentines—a little bit of your time and your own heart. (Although chocolate is pretty great, too!)
Gifted Coordinator / English Teacher