As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Monday, December 9, 2013


Telling your kids the truth is not always easy, but it's something I've always vowed to do from the time my first born took his very first breath.  As they get older and ask harder questions, that's not always easy (and I'm sure it will become increasingly more difficult as time goes on).  I'm sure there will be plenty of discomfort along the way, but I'm doing it for one reason and one reason only - because I want them to always trust that when they ask me a question, they will get an honest answer.

This time of year, there are plenty of articles swirling around the blogosphere about the morality of Santa Claus.  In particular two good ones I've read recently are this post in support of his inclusion at Christmas, and this one arguing against lying about Santa (or greatly exagerating his role).  I'm not going to take a stand on either side of this issue, as I've already mentioned that I think there are good and holy ways to have a Christmas that includes Santa, though this will be our first Christmas with all of our children knowing him only as a member of the Communion of Saints, and not as a jolly red elf who flies around the world on Christmas Eve.

On one of the above posts however, a commenter left a note that really left me thinking.  She listed the words of Santa Claus is coming to town:

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

And she said this sounds an awful lot like God.  She was not saying that we are equating Santa with God, but rather that if we say these things in the name of a person who is not God and our kids believe it over many years, and then come to find it's a lie, will they think then that all the same things we've told them about God relegate him to the same category we've kept Santa in - something that is fun, teaches a good moral, but ultimately at the end of the day is grossly embelished?   Could that in turn cause our children to question God?  I don't know the answer.

But it did bring me back to the real reason I want my kids to always trust my answers to them will be true.  They need to know that when life presses me into a corner, no matter what I will not lie to them.  No matter how difficult it is.  Because all those things I'm teaching them about God, I want them to know that it's true. Sure they will inevitably still question, in fact I hope they do.  I hope they wrestle with the truth, put it to the test, and come to own it for themselves someday.  What I don't want is for them to throw it out all together because they did not have confidence in my words.  I don't want them to relegate the bigs things in life to a category that is only for childhood, to be packed away when they grow up and only returned to when they have children of their own.

Whether you celebrate Santa at Christmas or not is irrelevant, I think.  It does not alter the truth of Christmas.  What is most important is that my holiday traditions, and in fact my every day life, is lived in a way that is truthful.  I must always prepared to give my children an honest answer even if it's hard, and even if the answer is, "I'm sorry, but I can't answer that right now."  Whatever your celebrations look like, let them be deliberate and truthful, not what the world says they must be, but what you in your heart believe to be the best reflection of the truth.

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