I’m not a foofy kind of girl. I think Valentine’s Day is largely a time for the florists, and candy-makers, and greeting card companies to get rich while they sit back and laugh at all of us suckers.
With that being said, however, I think the notion of setting aside a special time to celebrate and give thanks for the love in your life is a pretty cool idea. I don’t just mean the romantic, long-stemmed rose kind of love either. In my life, I am very fortunate to find love on many fronts. I have a supportive husband, wonderful family, and great friends.
As I consider all this lovely love, however, I begin to think about all the other kinds of love we experience day-to-day without necessarily thinking about it. And when I really think about love, I realize, it has less to do with hearts and flowers, and more to do with basic good character.
My husband is a pretty great guy. On top of our crazy family schedule, which for him, includes preparing dinner several nights a week, coaching our boys’ sports teams, and being an all-around taxi service, he is also a full-time teacher and coach, and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone more devoted to their students than he is.
Several years ago, he established a mentoring program at his school; giving his older athletes the opportunity to help the younger ones find ways to be successful in balancing both school and sports. As he worked more and more with the youth, he began to see first-hand the sad effects of bullying, both in person and more recently, via electronics.
Along with another teacher, he began to put programs in place, aimed at educating both students and teachers about how their actions can have long-reaching effects, and how practicing kindness can leave equally long-lasting impressions, for both those on the giving and receiving ends.
After attending conferences, leading meetings, and doing a lot of unsung, first-hand mentoring with students, their efforts have now spawned the school’s “Be Kind Committee,” a group of like-minded individuals committed to spreading this attitude of kindness.
As an offshoot of this program, my husband has recently unveiled a “Character Library” in his classroom. Full of books celebrating good character, and proselytizing the gospel of loving one’s fellow man, it is his hope that through the power of the written word, the next generation can be inspired to pick up the torch, and practice the simplest form of love there is.
To start your own Character Library, check out the following titles, a few of his favorites:
“Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson
“Enemy Pie” by Derek Munson
“Sheila Rae, the Brave” by Kevin Henkes
“The Forgiveness Garden” by Lauren Thompson
“Mr. Lincoln’s Way” by Patricia Polacco
“Better Than You” by Trudy Ludwig
“Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch” by Eileen Spinelli
“The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes” by Gary Rubinstein”
“If You Had to Choose, What Would You Do?” by Sandra McLeod Humphrey
“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio
Maybe I believe in the foofy kind of love after all. I am lucky to be married to someone who thinks it’s important to spread love outside the four walls of our home. He is my unsung hero, he is a great example to our children, and I think the world would be a better place if more people acted as he does.
Do you think Hallmark has a card for that?