Broken Hearts

Broken Hearts

Remember your first broken heart? I do…vividly.  I was 6-years-old and in Mrs. Leckron’s first grade classroom at Westview Elementary. I folded and traced just like she had taught us, but as I cut the penciled line, I ended up with a perfectly symmetrical broken heart. So, I tried again. This time with determination. This time with feeling. This time with the fold on the correct side of my cut. Success…my very first paper heart. It was like time stood still and for a moment and all was right with the world. I can’t say for sure how many Valentines I sent out that year, but I know every one of them was adorned with a perfectly symmetrical heart—and not one of them was to a spouse!

I mean I’m all for a date night with my hawt husband! <hubba, hubba> But, Valentine’s Day should be much more than that! It deserves to be a national reminder highlighted with bold chocolates, italicized with flowers, and underlined with $8 dollar Hallmark cards to show and tell those we love that we love them. That means All The People That We Love!

In grade school, we never sent just one Valentine—every kid in the class got one! But somewhere along the way that remarkable habit halted. Year-after-year, the number of Valentines sent and received dwindled down to darn near nothing. If it weren’t for moms, nary a Valentine would be sent to those without a significant other. That nonsense needs to stop! In fact, I’ll take it one step further…this sincere ‘show and tell’ needs to start on Valentine’s Day and continue throughout the year. No way, this should be a one-and-done kind of deal!

This year let’s let Valentine’s Day kick off a year of telling people how much they mean to you. Sure, start off with your family members if that’s easy. But don’t stop there. Who else might need a boost? Hint:  The answer is everyone. Literally, no one I’ve ever met has been encouraged too much.

Case in point, last week at a Board Meeting, we had a Board Member say that our team had a ‘can-do attitude’. After he said that, the rest of the Board broke out into applause! Applause! At a meeting! I don’t know what kind of meetings you go to, but that’s unusual! And it felt so good! Our encouragement tank wasn’t even on E. But it didn’t matter—we now have some fuel in reserve, and one day we’ll need it. That compliment catapulted us into this week where we are now poised to change the world with that ‘can-do attitude’!

That’s why we want to thank you! After all, you read our blog, so you know a thing or two about philanthropy.  You may know that the word philanthropy comes from the Greek word philanthrōposphil “loving” + anthrōpos “mankind”. So, every ounce of generosity you display shows your love of humankind! That includes spending time with a mentee, sharing your talent at church, donating treasure to the Community Foundation, passing along knowledge with the up-and-coming generation, or connecting your network as you realize the amazing people you know need to know each other.

I think we can all agree that giving what we can to help others is a true act of love. And that simply cannot be reserved for just one day a year. That should be reserved for days that end in ‘y’!

So, this year, let Valentine’s Day be the kickoff to a full year of loving humankind. Let’s be both human and kind. You can start by taking advantage of our matching challenge that will increase the grantmaking we give to local nonprofits who support Grant County families. For every $1 you give to a Give To Grant Unrestricted Fund, we’ll match it with $2! That’s a great way to multiply the love!

Perhaps you could mark the 14th of every month in your calendar as a reminder to do something kind for someone else. After all, if your bossy calendar tells you to do it, you likely will. Then wait and see how it makes you feel. Trust me, it’s based in science—the Science of Happiness—giving makes you happy!

Sure, you automatically get a smile from giving. I smile to myself in the morning when I draw a heart on the steamy shower door knowing my husband will see it later that day. It’s silly, I know, but it makes me happy to make him happy.

But there is also a legitimate chemical response that takes place in your body in response to doing nice things. When you help someone, share your talents, or give a gift, your brain secretes ‘feel good’ chemicals like:

Serotonin:  This regulates your mood.
Dopamine:  This gives you a sense of pleasure.
Oxytocin:  This creates a sense of connection with others.

Therefore, treating every day like Valentine’s Day will actually make you feel more fully engaged with life and the people in it. But overall, it will simply make you feel more joyful! And those feelings are good for your overall health. So, do it for the health of it!

Don’t ya just love love? I do! So, this year let’s use Valentine’s Day as the launch of a year filled with generosity. Engage in some heartfelt ‘show and tell’, symmetrical hearts encouraged, but not required.

  • jerry pattengale
    Posted at 19:27h, 13 February Reply

    This is one of the better notes on Valentine’s Day I’ve read from a non-profit (it also helped me to remember it–Thanks!)

  • Barbara Brown
    Posted at 17:34h, 15 February Reply

    Sending you love on Valentine’s Day and everyday Dawn! ♥️

  • Sherri Turner
    Posted at 20:07h, 16 February Reply

    I love love! <3

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