Valentine’s Day is coming. I must admit that of all the holidays that Americans make a big deal of, this is perhaps my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong – I love love. A day set aside to formally declare your love with cards, candy and flowers fails to capture the essence of romance in my mind. My wife and I declared early on in our relationship that we would not succumb to the powerful marketing machine that compels millions of Americans to spend billions on an arbitrary day of love.
You are probably saying to yourself now “Self, that Scott is fooling himself if he thinks his lovely and talented wife really prefers not getting gifts on V-day.” I have been told that by many people – mostly women. Actually, it was my lovely and talented wife, who while we were still dating, brought the issue up of how wasteful and pointless V-day is – a day created by greeting card companies and florists to generate sales between Christmas and Easter. After examining the issue, I had to agree, so we don’t celebrate.
Unfortunately, that’s the way it is with many momentous occasions in our lives. Big things happen and often nobody makes a big deal of them. Everyday in the U.S. Ordinary people do big things. They start businesses, or close them. They get married or unmarried. They have children or send one off into the larger world. If one of those events happens to you, it seems huge and that more should be made of it, but generally there is little to-do about it. We should build networks of friends and family who will celebrate with us when we win or set off on a new adventure, and will hug us and support us when we lose or an important journey ends. One bothersome aspect of the American “ruggedly independent” psyche is that we’re all expected to suffer in silence and rejoice in muted tones. To do otherwise is viewed as weak or offensive.
Today, January 27, I celebrate all the small stuff that doesn’t seem that small to you. We should have a holiday for kids who get straight A’s and moms who get up early to make their family’s day better. For dads who work with back pain, and college students who do hours of homework through the biting pain of homesickness. For kids who stand up to bullies, and teachers who ask about the bruises on a child’s body.
One of the biggest moments in the lives of many Americans is owning their first home. I had the privilege this week to assist a young man in his dream of home-ownership. The process is both exciting and scary, and to go through all of it again vicariously has been pretty cool. I thought about him moving into his new house and how there will probably be very little fanfare surrounding the event. So let’s celebrate those moving into new homes, and those moving out of old homes and into new chapters in their lives. It’s exciting to be a part of the process, and I salute you.
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