Valentine’s Day at the HOA?

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Valentine’s Day stretches back in history over 1,500 years. The day is based upon stories about a man, or men, named Saint Valentine. Though several priests bore the name Valentine, one in particular is believed to be the one the “love day” is based upon. It seems that this particular Valentine was arrested by Emperor Claudius II and placed in prison. While in prison, this priest, according to legend, healed a jailer’s daughter of an eye disease. The night before Valentine was put to death, he wrote a love note to the jailer’s daughter, and that is said to have been the first Valentine expressing love sent from one person to another. Of course, no one knows for sure if the story is true, but that hasn’t kept the greeting card companies, flower shops and confectioners from taking full advantage of it; not to mention the jewelry shops that promote their wares during this season!
But, what does Valentine’s Day have to do with the HOA? Well, for one thing, HOA work involves families and that is a place where love lives. Families, couples and companions who live in a home together face tremendous pressures in life. HOA officers and committees can help relieve stress, and thereby increase a better atmosphere in the home, by taking care of the community in which these people live and play. Stress places great strains on relationships, and one stress people face today is the falling value of community homes and properties. By providing excellent maintenance, beautiful landscaping, proper signage and safe places to swim and play, HOA leaders can assist those who live in their communities with the assurance that the lack of value in their homes is not related to the community itself.
HOA leaders can also offer opportunities for families to get together for games, fun and play. When neighbors spend time together they tend to look after each other. A great man once said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” When love blossoms in a community it almost always means the community is safer, cleaner and happier. An HOA can’t ensure love in a home, but can make it possible for families and neighbors to feel good about where they live and who lives beside them or around them.
Lastly, HOA leaders should love what they do. It is often a thankless job, and a misunderstood one; yet, those who serve should do it because they love the work involved in caring for the community, property and people who live there. It is unlikely that an HOA officer or committee member will receive a Valentine Card from members of the community, but the officers and committee members can give the community a Valentine’s gift each day by simply loving what they do in the HOA and doing what they love as they provide a very important service.
In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor, act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.” Lewis was right. So, hopefully, all of us who labor in the business and affairs of HOA management can do so with our hearts in the right place, always remembering that doing good for a neighbor, even one who is difficult to love, will result in a better community, a better life and a better future!
(By the way, I really loved writing this and hope you loved reading it! And, Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who carry out the often thankless work in your own HOA!)