When mum saw him, she called him “What are you doing there Hama?”
“Umm…” Hama-Guri stood at the door and smiled sheepishly as he saw dad giving mumma a kiss. Ma-Door, his information encyclopaedia, had already told him about Valentine’s Day. “Nothing…”
Mumma laughed and went over to him and picked him up and gave him a big hug. And then it was father’s turn.
“Oh you two leave me alone!” He squealed and giggled. “I’m a big boy now!”
“But today we celebrate love.” Said his parents together.
Hama very innocently replied, “Don’t we every day?”
His parents looked at each other. A little dumb founded.
“Ma-Door told me about today dad. But I still think love is for everyday, right?”
His father kneeled down so that he could look into his son’s eyes “You are absolutely right son.”
“Can we do something fun today?” Suddenly the young chap asked.
“Sure!” Mumma replied giving him a big hug.
“Today I play teacher and you guys answer.”
“Perfect! Over breakfast?”
Hama-Guri nodded as her went toward the dining table.
“Ok dad here’s the first question. What is love? Tell me in one word.”
“Caring for someone more than yourself.”
“I guess the same as what your father said” Suddenly a child’s simple question seemed tough to answer. “You say Hama.”
“Me? It’s you two and Ma-Door.”
The parents exchanged glances. How true, honest and innocent they both thought.
Taking a bite of his strawberry pie, he asked “Alright, the next question. Tell me something that is heart in shape.”
“I know this one!” Mumma exclaimed raising her hand playing along with her child. “That heart shaped magnet there on the fridge.”
Hama-Guri made a face. “Umm no no, a better answer.”
Father smiled. “A betel leaf?”
Hama-Guri clapped. “And you mum? Think mum. It’s here on the table.”
“Ohhh! How could I forget. A strawberry!”
Hama-Guri laughed. Then he took the magazine that was lying with the morning paper on the table and gave it to mum. “Turn it into love Mumma.”
Mumma took it from him and looked at it for a while. Then slowly took two adjoining pages and folded them toward each other and formed the heart shape.
“Very intelligent!” Father said enjoying himself.
“Your turn dad. Do you have a pencil?”
I have this he said taking out a pen from his shirt pocket.
Hama-Guri handed the newspaper to him and said “use two alphabet to write ‘love’.”
“Two? You sure?” He was stumped.
“Go on, show me.” Dad said handing the pen to his son.
Hama-Guri drew a capital ‘V’ and then a capital ‘M’ on top of it to form a heart.
“Wow! Where did you learn that dear?” Mumma asked.
“Ma-Door taught me.” The kid replied smiling.
“OK son, I have a question, can I?”
“Have you see love in animals and birds?”
“Father the calf drinks milk from its mum every day. That one who you don’t milk now. That’s love, right?”
Dad smiled. “And did you know that frogs sing to show love?”
“You are joking father!”
“No son. It is true. They close their nostrils and mouth and let the air flow from the vocal chords.”
“Huh? That’s singing?”
“For them it is.” He laughed. “By the way have you seen those two swans in the pond?”
“At the garden?”
“Yes. When they are facing each other closely they form a heart shape.”
“Really dad? Can we go to the park today? I so want to see that. Mum, can we?”
“Sure young man. But in the evening. Off you go to school now.” She said giving her ‘little teacher’ one more squeeze.
Hama-Guri hugged her back. Then picked up his bunch of dyed carnations and walked out of the door. A skip in his step and a hum in his voice.
Learning: Valentine’s Day is all about the heart. It is not only about love but also about compassion, generosity, and showing gratitude to others. It is about loving people – kids, family, teachers and even the birds and animals.
Things to Teach:
• ANIMAL LOVE
o About different ways that love is expressed in the animal kingdom. For example birds dance, male spiders jump, bowerbirds build big bowers with twigs and then decorate with flowers and feather, dance flies catch a prey and wrap it in silk for the female etc
o Mum animals who love the most: elephant mums look after their young ones who are born blind, orangutans don’t give birth for 8 years after the birth of one so that they get enough time with their kids etc.
• About different things and their unique shapes
• The history of St. Valentine, the Christian martyr after whom Valentine’s Day is named
• At school ask the children to write good things about someone with his/her name and drop it into the love box (you can make this box by wrapping red felt paper over any normal cardboard box and punch a hole through it). Read this out to the class once all are done.
• Ask them what they think love is
• Teach them to draw hearts using alphabet and numbers
• Watch the movie ‘Beauty and the Beast’
• Take the child to a florist and let him choose flowers for his mother, teacher etc
• Visit an orphanage or an old age home with gifts and spread love
• Teach the kid(s) some nice songs and poems and go visit a nursing home and sing to them
• Paint one of the school / home walls with hearts and flowers
• Tell the little one about Cupid. If at school, do a play on the same
• Bake a cake at home for dad
• Make cards with betel leaf impressions
• Write secret letters with lemon juice on a white sheet of paper. (once the juice dries the writing will vanish. It reappears when held against a strong light)
• Gift a dyed flower. Take a white carnation and dip it into a jar of water with a few drops of food colouring. Leave it for 24 hours and see a different coloured flower the next day. Explain how, like a straw, even flowers draw up water (called capillary action of flowers)