I’m back at work today (pretty sure you can feel my delight in just those five little words). I know I am back at work because I am wearing a pencil skirt, tights and black high-heeled pumps instead of jeans, boots, a scarf, a hat, gloves and a puffer jacket with some sort of fur lining. Today I look like I am ready for work rather than ready for a day of wandering around New York.
But all is not lost. It’s been six weeks and I have a wonderful holiday of nothing but great memories and a photo album of nothing but gorgeous photos. So, onwards and upwards and all that.
Yesterday, as I sped around the supermarket, the onslaught of the next commercial opportunity hit me fair and square in the face. No, I’m not talking about Easter (I could act all outraged that there are Hot Cross Buns in Woolies, but we bought some and have been eating them, so that would be kind of hypocritical). I am talking about the festival of love – Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day can go one of three ways for people. It can be a day of overt love declarations involving flowers, cards, poems, sky writing, gorilla-grams, stripper-grams (don’t judge), candle light, champagne, walks on the beach; it can be a day of sadness and misery and feeling left out; or it can be a day of complete oblivion where one is confused why there are so many people carrying bunches of balloons with ‘I wuv you, Shnookums’ written on them in glitter.
This year, I say screw that. This year, I say how about you do something that is meaningful that will not only help others, but also make you feel great. This year, it doesn’t matter if you have a Valentine or not. Everyone can play.
I am, of course, speaking of the Spare a Rose Save a Child campaign.
Now, if you have diabetes and/or any links to the diabetes word, you have probably seen and heard about this campaign before. I’ve even written about it here. The general gist is that instead of sending a dozen roses to your Valentine, send eleven instead and with the money that would have bought the extra one (about $6 in Aussie money) make a donation to Life for a Child. Those five bucks will provide insulin to a kid in a developing country for a whole month. Or, give your Valentine ten roses and donate $12.
All good, right?
But I have a little challenge for you.
This is a brilliant campaign because it is so simple. It’s easy to explain and it’s really easy to get involved. So my challenge is this. Let’s get this moving way out of the diabetes world. Let’s get this into the hands and hearts of our friends and family who may not really consider this as an idea for Valentine’s Day. Let’s tell our workplace HR teams and see if they can encourage it as a work-place wide giving program (there’s even a tool kit to get you started!). Pop in to visit your neighbours and ask them to get involved. Next time you are going for a walk in your local shopping centre, drop in to some of the small businesses and ask them to get involved. Ask your kids if they would like to donate some of their pocket money.
Roses and diamonds and jewellery and books and CDs and vouchers for massages and guitars and DVDs of favourite movies are all lovely and fun for Valentine’s Day and I am not suggesting you complete give up on the idea of sharing gifts. But how about sharing the love a little this year? I know that I certainly will be making a donation and have already strongly suggested to my Valentine that he do the same. (And check out this and this cute card to attach to your gift, telling your Valentine how you’ve shared the love this year.)
So, how about making sure a child has life-saving insulin available to them by donating just a few dollars in your loved one’s – or your – name. Because THAT is a gift of love and I honestly can’t think of anything I would like more this Valentine’s Day.