It was a Valentine’s Day long ago, and I was in my first grade class where a boy named Marvin liked me. And I was irritated by that fact; because I instead liked a boy named David, who I didn’t think liked me.
But Valentine’s Day was coming, and this was the perfect opportunity for David to give me a special valentine or gift–I eagerly anticipated that morning for some kind of sign.
That morning, our teacher instructed us that our class would exchange valentines in an orderly fashion. Each row would stand and walk down each of the other rows of desks, passing out valentines to those of us seated. But then I looked across the room and saw three gift boxes, beautifully wrapped in white paper with shiny red ribbon. But they were at Marvin’s desk, not David’s. My mind starting racing with the thought, “Oh no, if Marvin gives me these gifts in front of the class, it will be like flashing neon lights, advertising his undying love for me, and I will be embarrassed beyond measure.” But sure enough, when Marvin’s row stood up, he proudly carried those gifts to my row, and set them down on my desk with a smile. I froze in humiliation, not saying a word. I felt the weight of the entire class was staring at me. I tried to give them away to the girl sitting next to me, but she wouldn’t take them. I then looked up to see my teacher staring at me with disapproval. And what happened when David’s row stood up? He walked by my desk giving me a plain valentine–just signed “David.” Not even a smile as he passed. 
After the valentine exchange was over, my teacher called me up to her desk and told me in a low and serious tone, “Antoinette, even if you don’t want the gifts Marvin gave you, you should say thank you.  Don’t try to give them away in the class. It will hurt his feelings–it’s really rude.” I couldn’t believe her lack of sympathy for me in my state of humiliation. Although I nodded in silent obedience, inside I was thinking, “Why are Marvin’s feelings more important than mine?”
How often do we find ourselves in a first grade mentality: our heart is fixed on another person or another opportunity, another prospective client, employer, etc., and we dismiss the person or opportunity or prospective client who is showing that they value and want us? It doesn’t mean we have to settle; but what it does mean is we should express gratitude and appreciation to those who are initiating kindness towards us along our journey.