Happy Valentine’s Day to you
and yours. Whether spending the day with a significant other, child, parent,
friends, coworkers or your Army family, I hope you are spending your day with the
ones you love.
Valentine’s Day is a unique
holiday with a storied past. It is the second most popular card-buying day,
following Christmas, according to the Greeting Card Association, which
estimates people will buy 145 million greeting cards this Valentine’s Day.
There are many myths and
legends surrounding the history of Valentine’s Day. The holiday’s roots are in
the ancient Roman festival, Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated
annually Feb. 15. Pope Gelasius I recast the festival as a Christian feast day around
496, declaring Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day.
Now, which Saint Valentine the
holiday is referring to is unknown. Throughout the centuries, several Saint
Valentine’s have been credited with the holiday’s name. According to the
Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by the
name Saint Valentine. One was a priest in Rome, another was a bishop in Terni
and a third Saint Valentine met his end in Africa. All three Saint Valentines were
said to have been martyred Feb. 14.
In another popular account,
Saint Valentine of Rome was imprisoned for performing weddings for Soldiers who
were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted
under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, this
particular Saint Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius, and,
before his execution, he was said to have written her a letter signed “Your
Valentine” as a farewell. But, there are many variations to that story as well.
Because of the uncertainty of
Saint Valentine, the Roman Catholic Church dropped Saint Valentine from the calendar
of official, worldwide Catholic feasts in 1969.
Another conventional belief
accepted in England and France during the Middle Ages was that on Feb. 14,
birds began to choose their mates, hence why Valentine’s Day tends to be geared
Regardless of which account
you believe, Valentine’s Day reminds us about the importance of maintaining healthy
relationships with those we love.
Great relationships don’t just
happen – they are forged with work and determination.
According to MilitaryOneSource,
resiliency is a key to meeting the challenges of stresses in our lives and maintaining
healthy family relationships. Resilience is the ability to grow and thrive in
the face of challenges and bounce back from adversity. There are several ways a
family can be resilient.
In Strengthening Family Resilience,
(The Guilford Press, 2006), resilience specialist Dr. Froma Walsh identifies
nine characteristics that resilient families share. They include:
• Finding meaning in
adversity – Resilient families view crises as shared challenges that together
they can understand, manage and make meaningful in some way.
• Positive outlook –
Resilient families have an optimistic, rather than pessimistic view of life.
• Transcendence and
spirituality – Resilient families have beliefs and values that offer meaning,
purpose and connection beyond their personal lives and troubles.
• Flexibility – Resilient families
adapt to change.
• Connectedness – Resilient
families pull together during times of crisis.
• Social and economic
resources – When they can’t solve problems on their own, resilient families
reach out for help by turning to extended family, friends, neighbors, community
services and/or counseling.
• Open emotional sharing –
Resilient families accept and encourage a wide range of emotional expression –
joy, sadness, fear, silliness – in adults and children. Family members take
responsibility for their own feelings and accept others who have different
• Clarity – Resilient
families practice clear, consistent and honest communication.
• Collaborative problem
solving – Resilient families manage their difficulties by working together to
understand a problem and identify ways to solve it.
If you’re currently coping with
a stressful situation, suffering from a loss or dealing with a crisis of any
kind, there are things you can start doing right now to strengthen your own
resilience and model resilience for your children, according to Military
OneSource. The American Psychological Association in its publication, “The Road
to Resilience,” recommended 10 ways to become more resilient when dealing with
stress or adversity:
• Make connections
• Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable
• Accept that change is
part of living
• Move toward your goals
• Take decisive actions
• Look for opportunities
• Nurture a positive view of
• Keep things in
• Maintain hopeful outlooks
• Take care of yourself
For more information and tips
about maintaining healthy relationships, visit www.militaryonesource.mil/healthwellness/keeping-your-familystrong?content_id=267536.
Additionally, Fort Riley offers
numerous services to help individuals and families reduce stress, become more
resilient and maintain healthy relationships.
Army Community Service offers
several programs for families, including the Financial Readiness Program, Exceptional
Family Member Program, New Parent Support Program, Hearts Apart, along other
services, as well as military life consultants who can provide confidential
counseling to individuals or families. ACS can be reached at 785-239-9435.
Additional counseling resources can be found through Behavioral Health,
785-239-7060, or by calling the Family Life chaplain, Chap. (Maj.) Timothy
Reynolds, at 785-239-3436.
Additionally, for those looking
to reduce and manage stress, the Army Wellness Center within the Victory Center
offers a stress management class. The center can be reached by calling
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