From Me To You

Teens Connect
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Will You be My Val?
ove is in the air! Preparations are in top gear for the celebration of world’s ‘most romantic day’ – St. Valentine’s Day. Come Wednesday, February 14, the whole world would be agog with the celebration of love. Hoteliers are rolling over themselves to ensure would-be patrons are treated to the most cozy and romantic ambience imaginable. Ditto for eateries and all other hospitality service providers.
Everybody is in a frenzy preparing for this one day. People who have no dates are frantically searching. The whole town will be painted red as almost everyone is expected to be dressed in red and white. Being a weekday (Wednesday), many students would be seen adorning red and white to school instead of their school uniforms.  Many workers would ‘go red’ and those who couldn’t wear all red due to strict corporate dress code; would add a touch of red to their attire just to identify with the spirit of the day. Flowers, cakes, boxes of chocolates, cards and different kinds of gifts will be passed around in a show of ‘love’.
While the buzz is on, there are some set of people who are totally ignorant of what the day is about and who are completely indifferent about it. This set of people would stand by, watch the fun train go round.
It is for this set of people that I ask this question; please, will you be their Val? The orphans; the indigent, the downtrodden beggars on the streets; the sick and abandoned, the elderly; the motherless – the list goes on. If you take a hard look, you are sure to see this same question written on the faces of some people around you.
St. Valentine was about love, compassion and bravery not just romantic love. The man, in whose honour Valentine’s Day is being celebrated, was a brave and compassionate Roman Catholic priest under a tyrant emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that time and who believed that unmarried soldiers were more adventurous and cared for nothing unlike their married counterparts. With this belief, he sought to raise an army of unmarried youths to fight for his kingdom, thus, he passed an edict which prohibited the marriages of young people.
Bothered by the negative effect the edict would have on marriages within the Christian beliefs; Valentine took it upon himself to secretly marry young lovers albeit at a great risk to his own life. He didn’t just conduct secret marriages; he was full of compassion for the sick and the needy. He reached out to pray for the sick and gave alms to the needy.
Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and executed in the year 269 AD, for officiating at weddings young marriages against the edict of the emperor. Even while in prison, he continued to do good and made converts when he reportedly prayed for the blind daughter of one of the Roman Judges presiding over his case; and she began to see.
In essence, what we ought to be celebrating is the martyrdom of Valentine and what he stood for – godly love. But, this very essence is lost on a lot of people. On February 14, many young girls will lose their virginity to boys who are not ready for marriage. Many young people are going to get wild and get drunk – all in the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day, really? Let’s not get it twisted; that is NOT the essence of the day. If anything, such conducts run counter to what the celebrated patron saint of lovers stood for.
Love is a good thing and it is worth celebrating. In celebrating with our loved ones, we should spare a thought for the less privileged around us and do to them what St. Valentine would have done were he still alive – show them love!

Valentine’s Day Special
As the world prepares to celebrate Valentine’s Day, TEENS CONNECT went to the street to find out how teenagers intend to spend the day and how much of the man, St. Valentine, they know. Here are some of their responses

Goriola Ibukunoluwa, 19
I would ‘ve loved to spend my valentine going out and just having a good time with my family or with a loved one, but, now I can’t. I will be spending my Valentine’s day in school.
I don’t know anything about the man, St. Valentine – I am a Muslim.

Adegbolu Dorcas Adedamola, 18
Valentine’s  day is just another day for me. Most times, I hang out with my friends and we share gifts regularly amongst ourselves; I believe that’s what valentine is all about.
I really don’t know much about the St. Valentine. But, if you ask me, I feel Valentine’s day is  overrated. You don’t have to wait for a particular day or moment to show love to another person. Love is timeless and I believe it’s something to be shown every day.

Mayungbe Adebusola, 18
I will spend my valentine resting and watching movies with good food.
St. Valentine was imprisoned because he broke a law that banned weddings (I think). He also had a lover and while in prison always sent her a letter every 14th of February. After his death, the day was named Valentine’s day.

Peculiar Sule,19
I want to spend my valentine in a cozy environment, with good food and chilling air conditioner. This weather is too hot.
St. Valentine loved too much and gave up his life for a woman that stayed alive and ended up with another person.

Joan Akwu, 18
I want to spend Valentine’s day at home resting. I really don’t have much to do on that day.
St. Valentine married people secretly against the King’s orders and died on the 14th of February.

Marvelous Okechukwu
I plan to hang out with my family and loved ones on Valentine’s day.
I don’t know much about St. Valentine. All I know is that he died for love.

Akinwande Oluwadamilola, 18
I don’t think I will do anything on Valentine’s Day because I am single and do not have a Val. I will stay home because I don’t have classes on that day, watch TV, listen to music, and lazy around.
What I know about St. Valentine is that he was imprisoned and it had to do with love. I don’t really know much about him.

Anwuli Onwochei, 17
I am going to think of someone who needs more than I do this Valentine’s Day; be the person’s hero and give them a special day.
Apart from the specifics of St. Valentine being a martyr for love. I realize he was brave and compassionate to think of a way to allow people express their feelings of love.

Marvel Ezechi, 19
I would actually love to spend Valentine’s Day at a quiet place, like a garden, away from people’s interference. Have a picnic, eating chocolates and other stuff and discuss crazy things. Then at night, go to the movies.
Thank God I am a Catholic! St. Valentine was a Roman Catholic priest. He was murdered on the 14th of February by an emperor – I can’t recall his name now. People see St. Valentine as a patron of love because during his time, he actually wedded young Christian couples.

Nnalugha Cyril Chimdindu, 19
I want to spend Valentine’s Day with the guys at a cozy location, watching the best matches showing that day.
Specifically, St. Valentine is the highly recognized third century Roman Catholic saint. Memorialised on the 14th of February.

Ogunlela Toluwanimi Anthonia, 19
I want to spend my Valentine’s Day at home alone, listening to cool music, with good food and drinks.
I know St. Valentine was a priest who wedded people secretly for a reason I can’t remember. He got snitched on, imprisoned and then killed on the 14th of February. By the way, people threw roses to him while he was in prison as a demonstration of their love for him. That’s why Valentine’s Day is all about roses.

Oladele Damilola, 18
The best way I would love to spend my Valentine is to go on a movie marathon.
I know he was imprisoned because he officiated at the weddings  of young couples in secret defying Claudius the emperor’s decree. He was killed on the 14th of February. It is said he died for love.

Onwochei Emeka, 19
As a young adult, this Valentine’s Day will be a unique and significant one for me, in the sense that though I wouldn’t necessarily have someone to call my Val, I’ll express to the atmosphere that love can still be shared abroad. If you approach me as an individual but still hesitate to be free with yourself, I will make it known to you that there’s what I love to call “endless love” which also means love being shared abroad. It’ s not worldly love; but a godly kind.
St. Valentine was a Catholic cleric; a man of generosity, who was imprisoned for expressing love. He had an unimaginable uniqueness in him.

Sewa Odugbesan, 17
I am not crazy about Valentine’s Day because I have not really experienced it. But, I have a couple of friends who I love but who are not with me right now. If we get together on that day, we could actually go see a movie or watch a match.
I don’t really know much about St. Valentine, I only know he was a Catholic and he had much love.

Usman Oluwaseun, 19
I would honestly like to spend my Valentine’s Day like a normal day in my life. But it would not hurt to throw around a bit of love to synchronize with the spirit of the day.
I know St. Valentine was a Catholic cleric who after a certain decree banning holy matrimony or something like that, still secretly officiated at weddings until he was arrested and killed, like they say; for the sake of love.

Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same – with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead

–  Mother Teresa