A Note to the Parents of the Non-Believers

Family Matters on 12.04.12
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Image: Sarah Fernandez

Yesterday, my 6-year-old skipped off the bus and came running to tell me some big news. There was another kid on the bus that didn’t believe in Santa Claus. “Isn’t that crazy?” he asked me. “It is!” I exclaimed. But in the back of my mind, I was thinking, “I knew this was going to happen.” I know that at some point he’s going to figure it out, and I figure that we don’t really have that much time left, not because my son doesn’t believe, but he’s very observant and I expected he’d start to ask questions about why the big guy looks different from one picture to the next or how he can get from one place to another so quickly. And while I really want him to keep believing for his own sake, I also want him to believe for the sake of his little sister who was in the room when he bounded in to tell me the big news. So to the parents of the kid who told my son that, and to the parents of all the other non-believers, I have a request.

Once your child figures out the truth, please tell him how important it is to keep that tidbit of information to himself. There is no need to burst another kid’s bubble, and I actually find it kind of mean spirited. The parents of the "believers" put a lot of effort into supporting their beliefs. Last weekend I carefully selected which Santa we would go to see for the kids to give their Christmas list in order to reduce any suspicions my son might have. I made a point of not going to the one we’ve often gone to in the past, but who’s beard is sometimes a little off center, and found one with the real beard. And yet just one day later, the kid on the bus tries to undo my efforts in a flash.

I want my kids to enjoy the magic of Christmas as long as possible. I know it won’t last forever, and some day they’ll figure it out, hopefully on their own. Luckily, when I asked my son if he believed the kid, he gave me a giant “No!” that was so strong that I knew he still truly believes. As parents, I think it’s important that we teach our children to let other’s beliefs be their own and not try to undo them, just as we wouldn’t want some other kid to do that to our children. 

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