There are certain things I do miss about high-school, but being there on valentines day definitely isn’t one of them.
Now please understand my issue isn’t with valentines day itself. I happen to be a single man in his late-thirties but there is no bitterness in my heart about the holiday…it’s high-school turning it into a popularity contest that bothered me.
From kindergarten to second or third grade the general rule was you give valentines to everyone in the classroom (extra points if you included those candy hearts). As students neared jr-high age though they began reserving valentines for those who they thought deserved it. Of course you had a valentine reserved for that “special friend” but it wasn’t uncommon to give notes, chocolate, or other cool stuff to friends.
In a way that first year where not everybody got a valentine was the beginning of a very big change. No longer would everyone get things (yearbook signing, party invitation, sit with you at lunch, ect) but only people viewed as “cool”
Now the good news is there are different ideas about what it means to be cool, so no matter who you are, your guaranteed to be viewed as cool by a group of people. The bad news is everybody knows the basic qualifications to being cool (good looking, athletic, smart, popular, outgoing) and anyone who doesn’t fit those shouldn’t expect a pile of valentines on his or her desk.
And the worst news? That popularity contest view of life doesn’t end with high-school.
My biggest issue with the high-school popularity contest is that it makes each person a judge-or someone who decides what other people get. And they have a mental checklist to decide what people deserve.
- Can this person do something to help me?
- Is this someone who will make me look good?
- Will people make fun of me if I hang out with them?
- What things do they need from me?
- Are they good looking, athletic, smart?
What happens if this individual doesn’t get enough checks on our mental list? Sorry but you don’t deserve my respect and friendship.
Thankfully life isn’t a popularity contest, and often those who don’t look or act cool exhibit more talent and ability than those who we judge worthy.
But that doesn’t keep us from making it into one…and making sure we decide who gets a valentine.