Thursday, 11 February 2010


It's that time of year again when romance is in the air. Yes, it's Valentine's day on Sunday. Women spend misty-eyed hours poring over the soppy words in cards. Men traipse round Shell garages looking for a £2.99 bunch of crappy flowers. Failing that you'll see them looking sheepish around the garish red and black underwear section in Ann Summers or if you're slightly luckier, M&S. In offices around the country, you'll see loads of men ordering bouquets over the internet then moaning by the coffee machine at having to pay '40 bleeding quid for a bunch of friggin red roses'.

With so much love in the air, it was with interest I spotted the following story today. A primary school in Weston-super-Mare has been criticised for banning Valentine cards to save pupils from the "emotional trauma" of being rejected. Pupils at the school have been stopped from exchanging cards because the head teacher said they weren't emotionally mature enough to cope and that being 'dumped' interrupted their learning. He went on to say children should wait until they are emotionally and socially mature enough to fully understand the commitment in having a boyfriend or girlfriend. That has just about summed up what I always thought about teachers and in particular head teachers. Getting leftie and right on about the culture of commercialism is just about bearable. But protecting the little darlings from the emotional upset of rejection from not receiving a card? P-LEEZE.

I have a theory about this. Stay with me through the 'eee, when I was a lass' bit because it gets interesting I promise...
My generation growing up in the 70's was probably the last generation to be able to go out and play with masses of freedom and independence. With no distraction from tv and wii games, we hung about in gangs and got muddy knees, fell off bikes, fell out with each other and chased your persecutors with dog dirt on the end of sticks (tomboy obviously). Days were endless and you came home when you hungry. Your parents never knew where you were because you didn't have mobile phones. Fights and name-calling were commonplace. If you could climb trees or ride bikes or jump over dykes then great. If you couldn't, you couldn't. It was a melting pot for bringing out all personalities from the strong ones, the feisty ones, the weak, the lazy and the comics. Fighting for your place, your own battles and having a realism over your capabilities and failings made you strong and gave you a bit of backbone. You understood and accepted that coming third in a race meant that two people ran faster than you and were better on the day. It lay the foundations for adult life in that hard knocks or rejection although not very pleasant, were not insurmountable. You learnt fast that to be good at something took hard work and determination. You learnt that life wasn't always fair and equitable.

There seems to have been a movement over the past few years of protecting our younger generation from what seems to be any disappointment. Any chance of rejection or competition is snuffed out in order to promote fairness and equality. I also think there's an element of parents also building their little darlings up into pampered prince and princesses, at the centre of the family, clad in only the best clothes and UGG boots / Adidas Predators. Young people seem to have a natural confidence particularly surrounding their capabilities and self-image which at times borders on arrogance. However, this seems to implode spectacularly when their 'talent' or personality is either challenged or exposed negatively. Just watch any episode of the current talent shows to see floods of tears, shrieking, hugging, throwing themselves on the floor or better still, total disbelief and answering back when any of the judges say 'sorry Charlene, but you're crap'.

Teachers need to stop being so namby-pamby and concentrate instead on educating and inspiring children to aspire to something other than a WAG, a footballer, or working in the mee-dia. Valentine's day cards are harmless fun. They are not emotionally damaging. If a kid doesn't get one, that's life, they'll get over it.

Roses are red, violets are blue, I feel bloody old and I hate Valentines day too...


  1. Hmmm... now then I think I well and truly agree on this one. Teachers are desperate to impart their wisdom on such useful subjects as RE and Lacrosse yet they are eager to put a stop to children learning life-lessons... something musch more practical. Coming to terms with competition, rejection and the differences in folk is important and the sooner kids learn it, the better. You tell 'em Helly!
    Having said all that I have my Valentine's card proudly adorning the oversize box of Thornton's on my coffee table... well what can I say... some of us just have it... unlike the soft-arse youth of Weston-super-Mare!

  2. Thanks for the comment Debs. My goodness you can tell you went to a private girls school when lacrosse is mentioned! That aside, great minds think alike on the shortcomings of the PC brigade within the teaching profession. Well done loved-up-you on the Vally card & chocs x