Before we officially-unofficially left the church, there was one thing I had grown to agree with the Jehovah's Witnesses on. To quote a friend of Eric's,
"If you teach your children about Santa and they find out that's a lie, then how can you trust that they'll believe you about God?"
I always thought he had a point, both before and after he said it. It had been on my mind. It made sense. But I couldn't teach my kids that Santa wasn't real--could you imagine? I wasn't worried about them but about them spouting off to their friends. Never mind the reactions from friends and family whom I divulged my hesitancies to.
God forbid I didn't teach my kids about Santa!
How dare I even suggest taking such a fundamental childhood experience away!
All of these reactions from fellow Christians.
I'm sure many of you fall or fell into this category and I don't want to judge you. I'm not. It just strikes me as a little odd. Especially when it comes from the camp of "Keep Christ in Christmas." Especially when it comes from a people who do understand the history of where Christmas comes from--why it's not held on or near Christ's supposed birthday. A people who get all up in arms over "Happy Holidays" when it's not necessarily a Christian time of year.
Knock, knock. Hello?
I didn't get it, but I couldn't bring myself to actively teach my kids about Santa, and Eric was on board with me. Our kids learned about Santa through other family and television shows, society at large. So you can imagine I got questions, at least from my oldest (who is rather observant), at a young age.
"Is Santa real?" she'd ask.
"What do you think?"
But now that we're not believers, it doesn't bother me as much. There's still a part of me that doesn't enjoy lying to my kids. It's interesting how things change once you have your own sometimes, in various ways. I was taught about Santa, learned all on my own that he was a hoax. It didn't bother me at all--in fact, probably like many of you, I reveled in knowing when my siblings did not. I didn't make the connection between Santa and God. We tend to think kids have a greater propensity for such conclusions than they do, much like we worry about them seeing or hearing things on a movie that, up to a certain age, goes right over their heads.
So why am I having a hard time with my own kids, especially now? Abbie is so close to figuring it out, she's such a smart kid. I want so badly to tell her, but I'm encouraging her to rely on her own logic. So far she's finding ways for Santa to be possible, but it won't be much longer. I look forward to that day, really, just to congratulate her and include her in the behind-the-scenes action. But perhaps I won't make it and I'll be the one to tell her. I don't know. I hope for the former so, so much.
Perhaps Santa will be a good lesson they can remember years from now if they ever decide to be interested in the church.
If something doesn't seem quite right and you have to reach and stretch to make it rational and probable, something ain't right.