Whether you’re in the Mile High City or somewhere else, Valentine’s Day is different for adults and kids. As an adult, It’s a day associated first and foremost with romance showing affection for your romantic partner. Generally speaking, it’s the one day a year when a date with your sweetie is virtually guaranteed, the one day a year when flowers are virtually mandatory for many couples – or else there might be trouble!
The day’s focus is squarely on romantic love, and for couples that have been together for some time, it’s a date when the spirit of the early days of courtship may be revived. Gifts are exchanged, date night is arranged, sweet gestures flow back and forth. Maybe you plan a romantic weekend trip to the Colorado Rocky Mountains, a classy date night in Cherry Creek or Downtown Denver, a bundled-up snuggle-walk around City Park in Denver, or an overnight stay in Colorado Springs. The focus is on all things romance. In fact, the holiday itself has its origin in St. Valentine’s arrangement of secret marriages and ancient pagan matchmaking. But, as single people know, all of this can also feel a bit alienating if you don’t have a partner. It can feel like ole’ St. Valentine’s Day just isn’t for you in that particular year. It’s easy to really feel like an outcast, and the day may even be an unhappy one!
But remember what it was like as kids? For many of us from the United States, there are undoubtedly memories of picking out your favorite cards at the store (or making them yourself), setting up those cute little Valentine’s Day card holders on the front of our desks at school, thinking about what you wanted to say to whom, the excitement of waiting to see what others gave you, and everything else! While maybe we had innocent little crushes on certain fellow school kids, the day was more about showing love and appreciation for all of your classmates, all of your peers. It wasn’t just about romance: it was about more of a feeling of universal love.
As you may already know, Partners In Pediatrics was the Denver Metro Area’s first integrative pediatrician practice, founded in 1977. In addition to practicing conventional medicine and health care, we also take a holistic approach to pediatric care for our patients – your wonderful kids! Part of being a holistic pediatrician is looking at a child’s whole being, their mind, body and spirit – and one thing we’ve seen in our decades of practice is that love is crucial. Love for self, love for family, and love for friends and others. Love makes the world go ’round, as they say! Being able to express love is an important aspect of life for all people of all ages, whether it’s romantic, friendly, familial or even just compassionate love for a stranger. There is also evidence-based research indicating that expressing love is literally good for your health – and we’re not just saying that because we practice integrative medicine! Consider it a form of complementary and alternative “holistic treatment” that helps a person feel happy!
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to encourage your children to show love for those they care about, whether it’s their friends, siblings, grandparents, neighbors, teachers or anyone else (heck, maybe even you!). This could take any form, be it a card, a gift, a big hug, or even a smile and a “Happy Valentine’s Day!” Encouraging our children to express love openly can be a wonderful gift to them as they develop. It encourages open communication and self-expression, fosters closer friendships and sets them up for happier, more fulfilling romantic relationships when the time comes. Even simple expressions of love and affection can have such a powerful impact on a person, too. How delightful is it to have a friend (or even stranger) randomly say something nice and sincere to you? At times, these expressions may even be life-changing. Teaching kids the power of love, kindness and affection can have a larger impact on the world as a whole than you might think.
Witnessing children experience Valentine’s Day is a reminder of a time of innocence, when love was expressed without fear, without the taint of past experiences of rejection or disappointment that so many of us carry. Encouraging them to show their love for others can change lives, and it might even help cultivate your own spirit of affection, too!
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you from Partners In Pediatrics!