A few weeks ago our 4 year old son Elijah asked a question that was profoundly insightful and forced an important conversation. Here is what he asked
“What did Santa Claus do to God? He knows everything about us…what did he do to God?”
Kids need plenty of room to have their imagination. At the same time they need to know that if my lips are moving that truth is being told. So here is what I told him,
“There are things in this world that we cannot see…God, Jesus, Santa…things like that. God and Jesus are not like Santa because God and Jesus are real but Santa is not. It is fun to play and pretend about Santa but you have to know that he isn’t real like God and Jesus are. It is important that you know that everything that I tell you is true, even when it isn’t easy to say.”
Right, wrong or indifferent…that is the best thing I knew to say. This isn’t a judgment on any other approach…just my own thinking on the matter. I probably would say it differently if I had a second shot at it but the principles are still the same. I want my kids to trust me 100%. In saying that I am not condemning anyone else or implying that if you do the Santa thing with your kids that you are being untrustworthy. This is just want I want to emphasize with our kids.
The ironic thing about it all is that the more you tell them Santa doesn’t exist, the more they want to believe it. But the bottom line is that they know I am being truthful and that if they ask a question I will always give them the real, truthful answer. That is a lesson that is more important for them to be taught than any fun we can have carrying on the Santa-myth.
What kinds of conversations have you had about this and how did it go? What lessons did you learn and what wisdom would you pass along to the rest of us?