Give kindness this Valentine’s Day

Dylan Miles

In the month of February, there are many holidays and events to observe. There is Groundhog Day, Mardi Gras, Charles Dickens Day. But, if you presently or ever have had a significant other, then you know February is really all about love and Valentine’s Day.

There are the more attentive lovers and friends that plan very elaborate rendezvous and dinners. Sometimes it can be forgotten and late gift ideas for that special someone must be scrounged up at the last minute. Regardless of how or why it is done, this is a holiday that above all represents the quintessential human emotion: love.

Love can take many forms. Of course, there is the well-known capitalist approach of exchanging gifts in the hope that the message of love and admiration will be received. There is also the classic Valentine’s Day love letters and candy to pass out and receive. Of all the ways to spread this age-old form of emotion, the least acknowledged is charity and good will.

Love is a curious thing that is too often directed at only one individual or an esoteric group of friends and cohorts. The brass tacks truth of this holiday is that in this day and age, favor and friendliness for the mere sake of expression is somewhat of a novelty. If there is any adage that seems to compliment the times; then it is: “All we need is Love.” This year on Valentine’s Day, instead of splurging on red ribbon gifts and chocolates that get eaten too quickly, spread love to someone that may really need it, through acts of kindness and goodwill.

There are many things that can be done for Valentine’s Day that could speak to the true character of that day. The mess in New Orleans that was caused by Hurricane Katrina is still not cleaned up and there are many Californians that have yet to cope with the recent rampage of fires that hit the West Coast. Instead of buying a gift for a loved one that might not need it, send a donation to those that are truly in need.

If you have ever been down to Skid row in downtown Los Angeles, then you have had the unfortunate opportunity to come face to face with the overbearing problem of homelessness in this city and in many major cities across the country. As a substitute to spending every waking moment with your significant other, spend the day with the homeless in your community and humanize yourself by doing some volunteer work at a local shelter.

The war in Iraq is still very prevalent and an issue that effects many people, especially during a holiday such as Valentine’s Day. There are many people that are suffering the woes of solitude because their significant other is off fighting a war for their country and for their loved ones at home. Instead of showering your own significant other with unconditional love and poignant sustenance, support the troops and their families by spending time with a friend or family member that is at an emotional loss because of the war that their loved ones are fighting for the tax-paying citizens of this country.

Regardless of how you show your love on a holiday such as Valentines Day, be sure that you do, in fact, show love. The common connotation is that the love that you donate with your words and actions has to be towards a close friend or loved one. This year, for the sake of 2008 and for the sake of change, make things different.

Go up to a total stranger and start a conversation. Give a Valentine’s Day card to someone that may not agree with the holiday for personal reasons, to help him or her forget the past and brighten dampened spirits. Instead of spending all that money in one place on a clever gift for a loved one that might just end up on a shelf with cobwebs and a card that never gets read, give that gift to an old friend, or even an enemy. On this Valentine’s Day, make sure that you spread the love in your heart and make sure that you mean it. This year, kill them with kindness.

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