Valentine’s Day gets a lot of hate. Overbooked restaurants, gimmicky gifts and cliches, bad chocolate and forced romance are probably not the way to someone’s heart. But what if we gave it a reboot? First of all, how many holidays are about love, specifically? Of the big holidays, none focus on celebrating loving relationships between people. Here I say that Valentine’s Day is much more than corny romance (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and is a great chance to focus on celebrating our closest and most durable relationships. Indeed, the first “Valentine’s Note” was supposedly sent from Saint Valentine to a friend. Saint Valentine himself, was persecuted for performing marriage ceremonies during the Roman empire, at a time when the Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus had outlawed family celebrations, thinking it would make the male population too weak (again, supposedly). To wit, I say, who of these characters have their own holiday 2000 years later? That’s right, the love guy.
When people talk about Charlie Keating the IV, people light up, and remember his love. We have created the C4 Foundation, and our family strengthening programs in his memory. The programs are a testament to the power of love in the face of difficulty and challenge.
So let’s honor what we should about Valentine’s Day: it is a time to celebrate love for each other during tough times. To celebrate what is enduring love and leave out the inorganic distractions. In other words, Valentine’s day becomes a celebration of gratitude for each other and for the love that remains when all else is stripped away. In Seneca’s words, the definition of gratitude is “love returned for love” as it refers to the upward virtuous cycle of people showing and receiving love amongst each other. Let’s celebrate our closest relationships, and show ourselves some love in the process. Celebrate love, and Valentine’s Day on your terms, with love returned for love, however you see fit.