Many schools require that if students want to bring in Valentine’s Day cards, they must give one to every classmate. The goal is to ensure no one is left out or has their feelings hurt, but the downside is that it teaches children the wrong lessons.

It would be better to let children figure out by themselves, when they’re old enough, if and how they want to send such cards. If they do want to, parents should encourage them to do so privately and avoid many of the problems with sending them so publicly at school. Schools are overstepping in getting involved in something so personal. 

The irony is some schools protect children’s feelings this one day, then spend the rest of the year creating shame, regret, and confusion among children by teaching critical race theory and pushing transgenderism.

On the positive side, the cards-for-all policy teaches children to be nice to each other and to include others, but that should be taught every day at school in real-life situations. I feel sympathy for any children who do receive few or no cards, and it makes me sad to think of that possibly happening to my own children, who are in elementary school. But that’s life.

Not sugarcoating reality and just letting children give out cards as they wish, even if it leads to disappointment, provides an opportunity for parents to discuss relationships. When a child is sad about not getting a card, parents can instill in children that every human being has value and deserves to be loved, that we should treat others as we want to be treated, that we can work on being better at making friends, and that our hearts matter more than our appearance.

Requiring everyone to send a card also destroys what the holiday is supposed to be about — making someone feel special. Valentine’s Day cards used to mean that someone really liked you. Now, every child ends up with the same set of cards.

Children start to give out Valentine’s Day cards to the whole class in day care and preschool. I don’t want to steal candy from a baby, or delight from a toddler; the children should have fun at this age. 

But eventually, children become aware that Valentine’s Day is (by the dictionary definition) about romantic love. Then, the mandate to send cards to every classmate creates awkwardness. Many older children won’t want to send cards to classmates of the same gender. Many younger children won’t want to send cards to the opposite gender. As a 6-year-old girl told me when I asked about sending cards to the whole class, she just wants to send them to her good friends and, if not, to all the girls.

Some children won’t want to go to the effort of creating their own cards for a whole class. As a result, many parents will choose cards for their children at the store, which can get expensive, and put words in children’s mouths. I know of one child who complained that her mother bought a pack of cards that says she “loves” all their classmates. The girl wanted to cross out the word, but her mother explained that wouldn’t read well.

Requiring children to give cards to everyone also means they’ll have to give them to people they may actually dislike. Children might opt out of participating entirely, which creates its own turmoil.

Isn’t love fraught enough without introducing more complexities? Call me a romantic, but if it’s between the forced and fake version of Valentine’s or none at all at school, I’d take the real thing or nothing.