Agony and Ecstasy- Signing Valentines for the Entire Class

Have you ever wondered why there are size limits set on your child’s classroom? You might think it has something to do with assuring that your child gets a quality education with adequate individual attention from the teacher.

Ha! I suspect there’s a different reason under the surface.

I’m quite sure the rules about class size came about in order to eliminate a parent having to endure the agony of waiting for her child to address and sign even one more classmate valentine! Yes, class size limits are good!

As a parent I personally experienced the agony of each slow, careful letter being formed by little fingers gripping a pencil. I inwardly cheered when a child’s name was short (loved the name “Amy”) and inwardly groaned when we came to a long name (loved the name “Christopher”, but really, why not call him “Chris”?).

I also personally experienced the ecstasy of the clatter of the pencil hitting the tabletop when the last valentine was addressed and signed. A nearly giddy feeling would come over me until I remembered that my son’s younger sister still needed to get all of her valentines ready to deposit in the special Valentine Boxes in her classroom.

Obviously, even though the whole process of filling out valentines was an exercise in patience, as a parent I loved having my kids perform the ritual each year.

When my children were in 2nd and 3rd grade, I started working at Hawthorne School. And it was during my years as a school secretary that I fully understood the importance and value of a child bringing valentines for every one of his classmates.

Kids absolutely love those bright little cards with goofy sayings and thin white envelopes. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter how silly, how large or how small a valentine is. Each of the treasured cards is read, front and back, and somehow memorized before it’s placed back in the recently opened Valentine Box. I saw it happen over and over again.

Little Amy would come up to me and announce, “Kaya gave me a funny valentine with Scooby Doo on it!” Or Christopher would blurt out, “Miss Cathie, guess what? Josh gave Brynn the same Cars valentine that I did!” Somehow they just remembered. And I think they remembered because the whole process was important to them.

At Hawthorne School the valentine exchange always happened during the classroom Valentine’s Day party. I remember the chaotic excitement when the class, as one synchronized unit, dug into their individual Valentine Boxes to find their loot- 20 or more little white envelopes with their own name on the outside.

And suddenly, all the frustration of little fingers slowly performing the task of filling out valentines for that long list of classmates simply melts away. The time invested in the job is a small price to pay for so much happiness.

And the happiness is not only felt by the child receiving a valentine from every other kid in the class, but also by the child giving a valentine to every other kid in the class. It creates a beautiful balance, and for that one red and white moment in time, all is right with the world.

In my opinion, when a child takes the time to choose a valentine from the stack, write the recipient’s name on the envelope and sign the card, something valuable happens.

Just as adults do, kids feel happy inside when they give something to another person. And that simple act really does your child’s heart good, not only on Happy Heart Day but anytime it happens.

Earlier in this post, I mentioned classroom Valentine’s Day parties. Look below for a link to a healthy Valentine’s Day treat that you can send to school for your child’s classroom party. After all, you deserve to have a happy heart, too! Many thanks to for the great idea!

Healthy Heart-Shaped Treat

Thanks so much for coming by today. Have a great week and be sure to take time to enjoy Valentine’s Day with those you love!


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