Thursday, February 13, 2014

Life Lessons From Valentine's Day

Photo courtesy of FanPop.com
It was Valentine's Day,  and I was in first grade.  A boy named Marvin liked me, and I was irritated by that fact; all because I instead liked a boy named David who didn't like me.  Our teacher instructed us we were going to exchange valentines in an orderly fashion, row by row, meaning the first row would stand and walk down each of the other rows, passing out valentines to those of us seated.  It all sounded wonderful, until I saw a horrific sight.  Three gift boxes, beautifully wrapped in white paper with red ribbon, sitting with Marvin at his desk.  I thought,  "Oh no, he CAN'T have brought these gifts for me.  If he gives me these gifts in front of the class, it will be like flashing neon lights, advertising Marvin's undying love for me."  Sure enough, when Marvin's row stood up, he proudly carried those gifts to my row, and gently set them down on my desk with a smile.  I panicked, not saying a word.   I felt the entire class was staring at me.  What could I do?  I asked a girl sitting near me if she wanted the gifts.  I then saw my teacher staring at me with disapproval.  After the valentine exchange was over, my teacher called me up to her desk and said something I'll never forget:  "Antoinette, if you don't want the gifts Marvin gave you, you should take them home and give them to someone else, but don't try to give them away in the class. It will hurt his feelings."  I thought, "Why are Marvin's feelings more important than my feelings of humiliation?"  Little did I realize the power in my teacher's words.  I was only thinking of myself.  Not once did I think about Marvin's intentions.  Not once did I think about the time and expense that Marvin's mother probably spent to shop, purchase, and wrap those gifts for her son to give to me.
As an adult, we have to continually remind ourselves of this life lesson....whenever we dismiss a kind gesture from someone whom we are not excited about having as a friend or a date, or from someone who we feel can't benefit us in some way.  Whether it's not returning a smile or a phone call, not responding to their invitation, not expressing thanks for a gift or favor,  we are acting like a self-centered first grader. 
The next time someone shows you kindness, show your appreciation and gratefulness. It not only will help them feel good about themselves, but you will feel better about yourself, as well.

2 comments:

  1. Ohhhh- I love that story- great insight and correlation to life as adults. :) Love, love.

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  2. Thanks for sharing that oh-so-familiar story, Antoinette. The more we remember this lesson, the stronger and more better our relationships will be!

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