I believe in Santa Claus.
Believe. It is what what we ask kids to do at this time of year. Believe in the big guy. Virginia wrote her famous letter to the New York Sun in 1897. We grew up with the animated classic cartoons outlining Santa’s life story. ‘Believe’ is so beautifully woven throughout The Polar Express, I remember the gratitude I felt as a mother for the extra magic insurance! We adults so desperately want to preserve as much magic and innocence in our children for as long as possible.
We are asking them to have faith.
I can’t count how many times I have asked myself over the years why my kids or students sometimes do not do what they were told (or do what they were told not too)? Worse, I have come to realize that often, they do what I do! The same goes for believing. If I am telling them it is important to respect our anthem and prayers, then talk to an adult who comes to the classroom door during that time, they question my beliefs and follow my actions.
I believe in Santa Claus.
I am very careful this time of year about what I say when, for example, the custodian dresses up Santa Claus. Even in kindergarten, they see right through it. I am so grateful for those who have fielded these conversations before, and that I now have many years under my belt doing the same.
I know what I believe in. One of the things I believe in is Santa Claus, just like the journalist who wrote the famous reply:
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus
Journalist Francis Church wrote his belief what S.C. embodies when he replied to Virginia’s letter in the New York Sun on Sept. 21, 1897. Here are the statements of those beliefs:
- exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist
- childlike faith, poetry, romance
- will continue to make glad the heart of childhood
At the time of this post, Virginia’s letter and his reply have been reprinted more than any other newspaper editorial in history, in many languages, posters, stamps, in movies, books, magazines, newspapers etc.
When I hear conversations about the validity of the big guy, I shift them with comments and questions like these:
- I wonder what it would be like to be giving presents all the time and never getting any!
- Sometimes, we can just agree to disagree and look for the fun part of Christmas
- What are you working on / doing at recess / having for snack… (basically just distract them)
The Polar Express
Santa: “This bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas as am I. Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.”
I believe that this statement from Santa himself, in The Polar Express (or similar messages from other sources) will be perceived, noticed, believed, in whichever way an individual is ready to be a part of the more conceptual believing. It’s up to us to make that special, too – especially when younger siblings are involved!
And it’s ok when this shift happens. There is still so much to believe in.
How do you navigate these conversations?