Ruining holidays has become the national sport of the self-righteous and the politically correct. There’s the War on Christmas, the attempt to abolish Halloween, and even Christopher Columbus is reckoned a symbol of “imperialism” on his special day. St. Valentine's Day now joins the axis of childhood evil.
Teachers at Bradley Beach Elementary School in New Jersey have advised parents of a new rule. “If your child chooses to exchange Valentine cards in school,” they wrote, “he or she should have one for each classmate.” Choosing a favorite is no fair.
“After signing each card, place it in the envelope,” the teachers continue, with one caveat underlined for emphasis: “Please do not put any names on the outside of the envelopes.” This will “make it easier for the children to pass out the cards themselves. They will give one to each person in their class.”
This is all aimed at avoiding “hurt feelings.” The ban on the demonstrations of innocent affection for these 5- and 6-year-olds is the work of the same mindset that demands a trophy for every player on the playground team and the designation of every player, no matter how obviously inept to the kids, as a “winner.” Instead of celebrating excellence, the PC police perpetuate mediocrity.
The Bradley Beach war on St. Valentine's Day innocence is getting the Bronx cheer (no offense intended to Queens or Brooklyn) it deserves on both sides of Gender Gap. “Political correctness … is a big bag of suck,” blogger Chris Spags writes at Guyism.com. “This note that went out to parents … about [St.] Valentine's Day is proof of how bad it’s gotten.”
Bethany Ramos, writing at Mommyish.com, concedes that when young, she “wasn’t on the most popular rung of the social ladder.” She never received a “secret admirer” card, “though I secretly hoped year after year.” In spite of it all, “I survived, and lived to tell about it.”
Growing up is tough, and children can be cruel. Hiding reality behind “participation trophies” and generic cards with no meaning can’t change that. Shielding children from life only harms them in the long run. Eventually they’ll have to grow up and live in the world beyond elementary school, where no one gets Valentines from everybody, kids choose up sides naturally, and romance is not a civil right.
Better to let kids be kids. Nannies are often a nuisance, and holidays, even with disappointments, can be fun.
Naysayers hate fun. That’s why they suck the life out of games by forbidding the keeping of score.
A game of Cowboys and Indians is forbidden (or even Cowpersons and Native Americans). A kid can get in trouble for nibbling a pastry into the vague shape of a gun. Dodge ball is a game that might have been played by the Nazis.
Parents of the kindergartners at Bradley Beach Elementary ought to consider a small act of civil disobedience Friday and send their crumb-crunchers to school with Valentines made out, defiantly and unashamedly, by name to the objects of prepubescent puppy love.
The spoilsports need to learn that it’s time they grew up.