As Valentine’s Day approaches I’m sure we can all remember our first crush. It’s been on my mind a lot because I’m stepping into new territory as I learn a little more each day about my 11 year-old son’s first crush. My first reaction was, OMG, he’s way too young, he’s only in 6th grade. Then, when I really thought about it, 6th grade was about the same time when I had my first crush too, so I guess it’s really not too young! As I talked to some of my mom friends and heard that their 6th grade boys had been on movie dates already and are hanging out at the mall with just friends (no adults) I realized that having a “crush” is okay! So what’s the difference between having a crush in the 1980s and today?
- When I was growing up we passed notes in class in hopes of a response… someday: Today kids get an instantaneous response via text within seconds
- We had limited options to get in touch with friends (girls or boys): Today there’s a new app popping up every week from FaceTime to Instagram to Snapchat and Musical.ly and who knows what else
- I grew up drawing smiley faces and hearts on my notebook and homework: Now we (that would be me) need a course on internet slang and acronyms such as LOL, OMG, TBH and how to effectively communicate using just emoticons (no words)!
- When I was growing up I sought out every chance I could get to sit next to someone or stand in line by someone I liked because that was the only opportunity to get to know them: Today, every move, activity, emotion, and in most cases, a whole lot of nothing is broadcast to hundreds of people, daily
Even with all of these differences, at the core, 11 year old boys and girls are the same today as they were 40+ years ago. My heart melts when my son tells me how nervous he is when his crush is around him and how he doesn’t know what to say when he sees her at school. And I will never forget the day when he told me, “she finally admitted that she likes me” and the smile that was plastered on his face for the rest of the night. So while technology has definitely changed how we interact and communicate, it has not changed our basic needs of being accepted and loved.
I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day and all of the contrived expectations that comes along with it. But today, I have a new perspective about Valentine’s Day; it’s a time to reflect on the genuine innocence and purity of our first crush. This Valentine’s Day, my wish is for all of us to remember that feeling of having butterflies in your stomach when you thought about your first crush. Let’s hold onto that feeling and share it with the people you love!
HVD (Happy Valentine’s Day) Everyone!