Be my ValenKind

Traditionally “Be my Valentine” would be an invitation to a romantic duo. The iconic red heart would be the symbol of this romance.

What if we think about this symbol, the heart, as not being limited to a romantic liaison. What if we think about this heart as being a symbol of love in a broader context.

What if we broaden the whole idea to be one of kindness to others.

Yes, I have just moved for a day to celebrate and practice kindness.

What? You say we don’t need another “silly” holiday? In this February alone, we will have, among many others, Wave all your fingers at your neighbor Day (2/7/19) and Toothache Day (2/9/19).

I would like to suggest that we need a Kindness Day. It seems really obvious to me that a day devoted to love is a perfect day to devote to kindness.

We are living in a cultural environment that has become mean spirited, self-centered, and aggressive. The antidote, of course, is kindness.

I’ve already seen advertised a sweatshirt that says, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

There are schools that are recognizing that we need to teach our children from very young the importance that we place on kindness, whether to “foster the positive behavior that creates warm and inclusive school environments,” or “to reduce bullying”.

What better way to teach our children than to model it? And what better way to communicate that it’s important than to assign a whole day to celebrating and demonstrating kindness?

Think about it — we could have whole families making plans for how to celebrate Kindness Day. Maybe it’s to bring in your neighbor’s trash cans or her newspaper. Maybe it’s to take treats over to the dogs across the street, or cookies to the First Responders at your neighborhood Fire or Police station. Maybe it’s to let your little sister play with your Legos or to let your brother play with your PlayDoh.

Let’s think bigger — maybe it’s a day to contact your Senators and Congresspeople to support kindness to an underserved group or to have a fundraiser for something you consider a worthy cause.

There’s already a sweatshirt for it. Let’s add silicone bracelets with hearts on them and the words, “Be kind” and “Happy Kindness Day”.

What if the candy companies added wording to the gift box that said, “Share this”. What if florists sold bunches of flowers designed to be individually given away; what if there was a bunch specially priced specifically to be given away to complete strangers or delivered to people you don’t know who are in the hospital.

I have to share with you that this column has been an awful lot of fun to write. The ideas are just so easy to come up with and they feel so good.

I am very fortunate to have husband, children, grandchildren, and wonderful friends with whom I can share very traditional Valentine’s wishes. But we all have the opportunity to be kind, whether you have a traditional Valentine or if you don’t know a soul. Kindness isn’t and can’t be dependent on someone being important to you. Kindness in its purest form is given without any expectation of recognition or credit and without direct benefit to you.

It can be financially generous or not cost a cent. Find what works for you, and be kind. 

Happy Kindness Day! ❤️

Dr Benna Sherman

Dr Benna Sherman

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How to Get and Give Love -- Relationship Maps
by Benna Z Sherman, PhD

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How To Get And Give Love