Huffpost Food

This Week's HuffPost Family Dinner Download: Valentine's Day In The Classroom

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In her new book, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie to launch a new feature we're calling HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads. Every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

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On Monday we celebrate Valentine's Day, which was established by Pope Gelasius I in the 5th century and didn't become associated with love and romance until the high middle ages when Chaucer first began the tradition of composing poems about love to mark the day. Now we know it as a holiday devoted to love and affection, often featuring romantic gifts, poems, celebrations, sweets and flowers.

In our nation's schools, however, it's a different story. As family therapist Carleton Kendrick wrote on the HuffPost education page earlier this week, the seemingly innocent tradition of exchanging Valentine's Day cards and candy in the classroom invariably leads to terribly hurt feelings for certain students -- usually for those already suffering the most from bullying and social exclusion. "I could not understand why we had to do something that never failed to hurt some children's feelings," Kendrick wrote. He calls for school administrators, teachers and parents to consider eliminating or finding alternatives for these Valentine's Day rituals at school that so often leave students feeling hurt to the point that many avoid going to school on February 14 altogether.

How does Valentine's Day work in your classroom and at your school? Do you bring cards or candy for everyone? Do you find it to be a tough day for some students? What are some other ways you could observe this holiday in school that doesn't leave students feeling hurt?

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To see last week's Family Dinner Download, click here.

Subscribe to receive HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads by email every Friday afternoon.

For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (thefamilydinnerbook.com).

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