Valentine’s Day without Commercialism – Is That Possible?

How we do Valentine’s Day @ TKG

There are a few themes that come up around Valentine’s Day including commercialism, intrinsic motivation, and empowerment. In promoting a personal, comfortable, and marketing-free environment we try our best to furnish the space with natural materials that encourage exploration, cooperation, and freedom to develop original ideas (TKG Handbook).

TKG’s approach to celebrating commercial “holidays” has everything to do with what emerges for students. We ask parents not to impose expectations or biases on outcomes/products but encourage students to create and collaborate with their peers, in class, and guided by their teachers. This is one of the reasons why we ask you to support wearing non-branded/non-commercial attire, lunchboxes, and not bringing branded toys to school – so that students may recognize that their stories are important and have worth – without having to use the framework of other stories or feel compared to other (financed) stories. The marketers of Valentine’s Day have co-opted a dark…”Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday”… a questionable tradition that originated in Rome (NPR, Arnie Sieple).

From the big picture perspective, we should be encouraged to think about who is making money from Valentine’s Day sales. Who is getting “free” promotion by our consumerism? Are they really just giving us “what we want?”

We must be reminded that “the commercial pressures and profit imperatives…encourage particular types of news coverage.” (Victor Picard, “When Commercialism Trumps Democracy”). So, we must expect those profit imperatives will always do their best to influence consumers as early as possible – as early as birth, as they say at Disney.

“But there has been a substantial dive in the nation’s creativity in the last few decades, according to research by educational psychologist KH Kim, author of the new book The Creativity Challenge. Kim has tested more than 270,000 people, from kindergartners to adults, looking at (among other things) their ability to come up with original ideas, think in a detailed and elaborative way, synthesize information, and be open-minded and curious—what she considers creativity. Her research has found that Americans’ creativity rose from 1966 to 1990, but began significantly declining after then.” (Michael Ruiz, How to Combat America’s Creativity Crisis)

Why is creativity dying? Why is princess culture rising?

Businesses (and even some schools) first and foremost, have to make money. What we are trying to change, by building community at TKG, is the lens that money should drive our decisions.

We respect that one needs the tools to make a living and contribute to the well-being of society – but we value that your intrinsic passions, not external shoulds and shouldn’ts, must be fully accessed in reaching that mission.

In case you have questions :please do not buy valentines for your student to distribute at school
please do not scaffold your student to “have” to give valentines cards/gifts
encourage any student who wants to give valentines to bring it up with their community in class
contact your teacher for your class plans
For supporting sources of this newsletter: please visit our blog post, here.

Sources for this post:

When Commercialism Trumps Democracy

Dodging Disney In The Delivery Room

How to Combat America’s Creativity Crisis

The Dark Origins Of Valentine’s Day

Op-Ed: Fred Rogers wouldn’t have wanted to appear in a Google ad

Original Post: January 26, 2020
Reposted: Feb 6, 2021

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