Right or wrong, this is how I explained Valentine’s Day to my boys.

Allow me to set the scene.

My 3 sons and I needed to run a quick errand to Wal-Mart.  It was probably an emergency run to buy toy Monster Trucks or beef jerky.

Upon crossing the threshold of those automatic double doors, we were inundated with cheesy elevator music and a barrage of red and pink merchandise designed to make men feel guilty and women feel special.

That, I explained to my sons, is Valentine’s Day.

I thought about going into the history of St. Valentine and the rich heritage of this annual tradition – but I would have had to make it all up since I was clueless about all of that.

Instead, I did what I always try to do with my sons: I told the truth.

I explained to my boys that Valentine’s Day is a day that retailers and restaurants created to overcharge and make a profit on boys like us. I told them that on this one day, flowers cost double, waits at restaurants triple, and women feel 4x more lonely if they spend their evening alone.

Despite my objections to the commercialism of love, I had to confess…

We boys will probably always need Valentine’s Day.

Here’s why:

Women deserve and need to feel beautiful and cherished. And we men pretty much stink at this.

I don’t know why we have such a difficult time telling the women in our lives how beautiful they are (because we think it all the time), how crazy we still are about them (because we sure are), or how rediculously blessed and spoiled we are that we landed such amazing women (because everyone knows we’re waaaaay out of our league).

I guess it’s far easier for us to return to a kindergarten state of existence when we would simply push a girl down or call her names to let her know we have a crush on her.

I haven’t found that equivalent card at Hallmark yet.

Perhaps it all boils down to RISK. Guys are deathly afraid of rejection…I guess we all are. But I fear men can be far more cowardly in this department.

We don’t want to sound stupid. We don’t want to expose our feelings – especially if they could get ignored or rejected. And we certainly don’t want to open ourselves up to getting shot down.

So, we stay quiet. We remain comfortable and safe. And the objects of our adoration graciously love us anyway.

But there’s a better way, I explained to my boys. If we do our job, we won’t NEED Valentine’s Day.

Let’s be men who aren’t afraid to look silly, express our feelings, and take risks – because the women we love and the daughters we’re raising are worth and need it.

Pay too much for food and flowers as a nominal fee for the reminder that we dudes need to actively cherish those we’ve been given to love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, ladies. I hope someone buys you a Monster Truck, beef jerky, or overpriced flowers today. But if not, KNOW THIS, just because you haven’t heard how beautiful or treasured you are lately, doesn’t mean you aren’t.

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