I won't go into a great deal of detail about the whys and the wherefores and history of Valentine's Day, because the information is all out there on Wikipedia, among other places. I will say that even during my short lifetime Valentine's Day seems to have changed from a day when you express how you feel towards your beloved girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, or significant other, to a marketing exercise where you feel obliged to give a Valentine card or gift to everyone you are related to or like or are marginally acquainted with. Parents feel pressured into sending their kids to school with about 30 cards for all their classmates and their teacher, because we don't want little Johnny the one-eyed hunchback who drools and smells a bit funny to feel left out because he might grow up with low self-esteem and go postal in 20 years, taking out the manager of the local Safeway with an AK-47.
Do I sound jaded and cynical? Maybe. Do I still go ahead and do these things? Of course - under extreme duress. But I am still left hankering for those days of my youth when you got just ONE card or gift, and sent/gave it to the ONE person in the world you cared most about.
Back in the day, if a group of teenagers were being a bit rowdy outside your house, you'd go out front or lean out the front window and yell at them to bugger off. Nowadays people are afraid to do this because they are terrified of getting mugged by a gang of baggy-pants-and-hoodie wearing, sullen, spotty youths with a box cutter.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating physical punishment, but I am saying we've gone soft. There's nothing wrong with making sure your kids are scared to step out of line. I was generally very well-behaved as a kid, mainly because I didn't want to find out what punishment would be meted out should I act up. The teachers at school were scary enough when being nice, so I made sure not to aggravate them. I think I only got spanked once, and that was enough to make me avoid it again at all costs.
Ah, those were the days.