Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Is he or isn't he?

In my elementary school career I've spent five years working with fifth graders and have been asked many different questions. The hardest ones were questions about sex which now that I think about it they were actually easy to answer. I just told them to ask their parents when they got home. While we do cover that topic somewhat at the end of the year in the human growth and development unit, it's basically just about he changes the male and female bodies go through. If they want to know more, ask at home. One question I was never asked about was Santa.

After 11 years of working in my current job the question of Santa never came up until last year. I'm in my fourth year of kindergarten and the first two were smooth sailing when it comes to the jolly fellow. Last year came the first questions about him. A student proceeded to tell his table group that there is no such thing as Santa Claus. What made it interesting is that no one believed him. They asked him how did he know and he replied that his mother told him that. One student replied that his mother was stupid.

I called him over to my desk to talk with him and let him know that first, his mother was not stupid and second it's okay not to believe in Santa but most children do and that's okay too so please don't bring it up again. And he didn't.

This year another student (why is it always boys?) told his friends that there's no such thing as Santa, your parents give you gifts. They didn't believe him either. He comes from a family that is religious, so much so that they kept him home the day of our Halloween party.
Strangely enough he believes in the tooth fairy. I called him over to my desk and gave him the same speech and asked him to not tell his fellow classmates that and to please not spoil it for them. I told the teacher I work with so she was in the loop. Five minutes later she heard him telling them the same thing. This time she took him out into the hall and was very stern. Not just for talking about Santa but also because he knew he was specifically told not to. In the long run a call was placed to his parents and they were mortified that he spilled the beans to the other children.

My thoughts are this; some parents believe the whole Santa thing is very commercial or that they're lying to their children because he's not "real". I've never known anyone who was psychologically damaged because they found out Santa wasn't real. I find that sad for the children. Christmas time is a very magical season. Childhood is so fleeting and they will never be this innocent again. You certainly can celebrate the birth of Christ and all that goes with that but what's wrong with celebrating with Santa too? You don't have to go overboard with it. After all it's not like he's evil. Santa has very good attributes; he's kind, loving, caring, joyful, generous, tolerant and unprejudiced. I like to think that everyone has a little bit of Santa in their heart.

My boys with Santa on Christmas Eve


Gman said...

The Halloween thing was just so downright silly. I allow my children to dress up in cheesy 15 dollar Walmart costumes and then take them down town to trick or treat at the local businesses and I have no quarrels with my conscience come Sunday morning while I am in church. My associate pastor did the same with his grand children, so I know that in moderation it can't be bad.

My children know the true meaning of Christmas and they still believe in Santa as well. I don't have a problem with it because it is something that adequately represents their youth in a way that they can understand. When we start to omit these things without rhyme or reason in their lives, I believe that we are doing nearly as much bad as good because we are showing them that we lack the tolerance to accept how others see things. I believe that when we make political statements, no matter how small about our faith using these methods, it is clear that our faith may have been in trouble in the first place...