- I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.
Monday, December 19, 2016
This is a letter I sent to my son this week, as he began asking questions: Dear Vinny: You are getting at that age where you have internet access and you have friends who are older, and we see that you are getting some conflicting messages about one of our favorite Christmas traditions: Santa Claus. We don't want you to think we are lying to you. So.... Here is what you should know: Santa Claus was a real man. He died a long time ago. His name was Saint Nicholas. He lived in the Middle East, near where Jesus lived, just a few hundred years after Jesus died. He was a very rich man, but he gave away all of his wealth, mostly to poor children, in the form of gifts. He had a tradition of never letting people know who he was when he gave them gifts... because that's what Jesus would have done. God loves every person on this earth and blesses people whether they show him thanks or not. That is why so many of us parents continue the tradition of Santa Claus. Because it is important that children understand love and blessings from someone who doesn't need thanks in return. It is also important to believe in the magic of Christmas and Santa. Even though kids like you eventually get old enough to understand that one man can't make it to every home in the world in one night, and that only your parents really know you well enough to get you gifts you love that you never even thought of asking for.... we think it is important for little kids to believe that impossible things are possible. As the fairy godmother says in Cinderella, "The world is full of zanies and fools who don't believe in sensible rules and won't believe what sensible people say. And because these daft and dewy-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes, impossible things are happening every day." A hundred years ago, lots of women died giving birth to babies. Who would think that it would be possible to put one person's blood in another person's body? But because some zany fool believed that could be possible, blood transfusions became a real thing, and it was because of blood transfusions that I was saved from dying after Tiana's birth. And who would think that God could come to earth as a baby and save us all? Impossible, right? Except it's not. Some impossible things are possible, because of love. And so, while a single man delivering presents to the whole world is not "Santa," you should know that Santa, as the idea of unconditional love and impossible things being possible, IS real, which is why our parents did "Santa" for us and why we do "Santa" for you and Tiana... and why you must keep the secret of Santa. Because the real secret of Santa is this: impossible love exists and it is our responsibility to love others with impossible depths, expecting nothing in return. We hope you understand. Love always, Mommy and Daddy