Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The End of Innocence

My son has breached one of the subjects dreaded by parents everywhere. I cringed, I thought about the answer and…well, let’s take this from the top.

“Dad, where’s my Christmas list?” Tyler asks with furrowed brows.
“Why?” I ask, guessing at his motivation. “Do you have some more things to add to it? You know it is fairly long as it is.”
“No, Dad. I need to make a copy of it.”
“For…” I prompt.
“I need to send it to Santa pretty soon. Christmas is getting closer, you know.”
“Oh, yeah,” I smirk, mussing up his hair as I walk by him to fetch the list.
“Dad,” he ventures tentatively. “Can I ask you something?”
“You can ask anything you want. Now, whether or not I will answer you…that is a different story altogether.”
“Is Santa real?”

I freeze like a deer in headlights. We have a strict no lying rule at our house, one that he has tested the boundaries of more than once. I know that sounds strange coming from a fiction writer, but I keep fantasy and reality firmly separated in my day to day life (well, most days anyway). The rule is, “Lying is not an option. No matter how bad it is, the truth is always better.” This gives me quite the dilemma. Do I come right out and tell him the ultimate secret, crushing his dreams this close to the big day or do I disobey my own house rule. What to do…what to do?

“Do you believe he is real?”
“Yeah, but Tommy so and so says that he’s not.”
“Santa is an idea, an embodiment of the Christmas spirit. He is only as real as you make him. If you believe in him, then he is real for you and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or believes. Do you understand?”
“No,” he admits with a shake of his head.”
“Your belief is a powerful thing. Whether he is real or not, if believing in him makes you happy, then I say it doesn’t get much more real than that.”

So, the crisis is averted for now, but for how long? Or is it? Will it do more harm than good to let him continue to believe, if all of his peers no the awful truth?

Ok, I know several of you out there are parents. At what age did you tell your kids about Santa? Did you just let them figure it out on their own? Or do they still hold that childhood dream near and dear to their heart?


At 7:17 AM, Blogger bsoholic said...

Wow! I'm not a parent, and I don't think I would know how to handle that situation! You did pretty well for now with the 'belief is powerful' thing.

Perhaps someone will give you some good advice.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger lime said...

well, that is a tough one. i grew up with a pretty strict no lying rule too, and have one with my own kids.

consequently, my folks handled santa differenlty than most folks did. they said that anyone could be santa, that it was a spirit of giving that we nurtured in our hearts. so if we did something or gave something secretly that made us santa too. the guy in the red suit was just a symbol of the giving spirit they told us. hope that helps in some way. i know it's not entirely mainstream

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