Counting Santa’s Many Virtues
Wednesday - December 17, 2008
I am certain there is a dearth of children who read this space. In that case, it is the time of year to contemplate the dilemma facing most parents: When and how is the best time to tell the kids that Santa Claus does not exist?
Allow me to acknowledge the smattering of parents who refuse to deliver the mythical existence of Santa, The Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and various second-tier fantasy figures upon their offspring.
I appreciate your insistence on teaching your kids the aforementioned characters are figments of generations of imagination.
After all, we live in the real world, right?
As much as I appreciate the pragmatism of this parental approach, I believe you are not only missing out on the pure joy of a child’s face at Christmas, but there are other positive messages reflected in the Santa story.
First of all, let’s acknowledge that Santa doesn’t creep out kids like, say, a clown. I mean, how many of you know of someone who couldn’t stand clowns as a kid? Now, how many of you know of someone who was freaked out by Santa? I would wager my Donner and Blitzen that the clown wins hands down.
Santa’s brilliant white beard, shimmering red suit and rotund belly is preferred over a lipstick-laden, fright wig-wearing, baggy pant-sporting, gender-confused baritone. Game over.
Secondly, Santa is a saint, for goodness sake. “Saint” denotes goodness, selflessness, generosity and piety. Wow, it sounds like we’re describing the ideal son-in-law.
The whole concept of Santa is a veritable smorgasbord of ideal attributes. He is dedicated to bestowing rewards on those who are good.
And how does he determine this?
From letters the children send to him at the North Pole. Not only does he extol the virtues of virtue, but he requires good spelling and composition, too.
Santa is a hard-working entrepreneur responsible for the concept, design, manufacturing and distribution of his products. Here is a chance to teach your kids that dedication and persistence can be found in benevolence.
Plus, Santa is socially conscious. The majority of his work force is comprised of little people.
Clearly, it can be taught that despite physical challenges, those who are different from us are capable of not only contributing to society, but advancing it as well.
Santa is green. No, not like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas (that’s a whole different story), but his operation is environmentally friendly.
For instance, his transportation system does not use one drop of petroleum.
Instead, he uses “eight tiny reindeer” to execute a complex global distribution system. There’s no carbon footprint here.
Perhaps the EPA may have an issue with the inevitable flatulence factor. I suppose you have to cut down on Christmas chili.
Politicians invoke children ad nauseam in the pursuit and perpetuation of their office. Santa truly is dedicated to the keiki. It’s all about kids with Santa. What a compelling example of genuine concern for a child’s welfare rather than a punch phrase for an antiquated elected official.
Finally, Santa’s elevation of Rudolph to Head Reindeer is a gratifying story of animal rights advocacy. Most would have discarded a reindeer with a shiny, red nose. But Santa not only retained his services, but he immediately gave him a management position.
If you have the talent and the tools coupled with desire, you can succeed in anything you choose.
Before dismissing the fanciful stories of tradition and fantasy, we should look beyond the caricature and find the wonderful lessons our childhood beliefs teach us still today.
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