As I've mentioned many times, I spend a lot of time these days thinking about the world around me and trying to see things through the lens of motherhood. The most recent topic to occupy my brain is Valentine's Day. I've always felt that the holiday was pretty silly, perpetuated by the chocolate companies and the card companies, and marketed in such an over-top-way that the negative impact on those not in relationships far outweighs the positive experience of the couples. That said, it is an impossible day to avoid, and since I expect that it will be celebrated at daycare, I've been thinking about what kind of a day I want it to be.
I started contemplating what conversations I could have with my son about Valentine's Day. He is only 18-months-old, but I like to explain things to him and it would be great to come up with something to say to him now that I could expand on as he gets older. Yesterday it occurred to me that there is a great opportunity here.
We have a day on the calendar every year that is specifically devoted to love, and yet we live in a country where the majority of states still say it's illegal for two people who love each other to get married, if they happen to be the same sex. We have a long way to go as a country to truly respect each other's rights to love. As parents it is our job to teach our children to love and respect others and to fight for all people's freedom. We are responsible for ensuring that the next generation is even more loving, more open-minded, and more insistent that change happens. What better time to start that conversation than on Valentine's Day? As of tomorrow, February 14, 2013, I am declaring Valentine's Day as a true Day of Love. Not just a day to express love to our partners (although, that will certainly still be a part of it), but also a day to talk to our children about the importance of loving and respecting (and fighting for) other's rights to love.
And it doesn't have to just be talk. It's also a great opportunity to engage our children in some activism. Make a donation to an LGBT-friendly organization, write a letter to a representative expressing your feelings on the importance of allowing all people to marry, check out websites like It Gets Better and make a plan to get involved.
Whatever you do, let's do something. Let's reclaim Valentine's Day for Love.
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