I have no idea the age of my youngest reader, so I will tread lightly in this post. I want to talk about jolly old Saint Nick, and how parents first talk to their kids about how Santa Claus is…incredibly magical and capable of so many supernatural things. Go with me here.
I wonder what the most common questions are from kids when they realize that Santa Claus is…really that amazing. Things like:
- “Mom, can Reindeer really fly?” Yes Jimmy, they’re magic!
- “Dad, does Santa really visit every kid in one night?” Yes, he does Susie, and no, I don’t know how many kids there are on planet Earth. That math sounds hard.
- “Mom, why did Santa bring my friend Joey a Playstation but I only got pajamas and a book?” Joey must have been really good this year Tommy!
- “Dad, why did that Santa Claus at the mall look different than the one I took a picture with last week?” I think he just shortened his beard a bit Alice; he looked the same to me.
- “Mom, what does Santa do when a house doesn’t have a chimney?” Santa is a master locksmith Lisa, and parents always give him alarm codes, so the chimney is just his preferred method of entry.
- “Dad, why did Santa give me the same present I saw in your closet two days ago?” Uh…Santa dropped the present off for you early this year Jordan, and what were you doing in my closet?!?!
With my oldest being just three and a half years old, I haven’t experienced the parental ritual of having the Santa talk. I’m in no rush, but I suppose it’s worth giving some forethought too. It’s one of those iconic things a parent knows they’ll eventually experience, and likely a lot easier to navigate than that other topic you have to broach a bit later…you know, “The Talk.”
My wife recently sent me an NPR article on another issue that parents are starting to need to address with their kids: “How to Talk to Kids About Climate Change.”
I find it fascinating, and crucially important, that parents are starting to need to talk to kids about climate. Increasingly, schools are making it a part of curricula (another good thing), but that is largely just about the science and the solutions. There’s another layer to climate change education, and it’s how a person responds logically and emotionally to a realization that they will grow up and grow old in a different world than humans have experienced before.
For my part, I want to be proactive in talking to my kids about climate change. I want to teach them the science for sure, but I also want them to feel like our family is already making a difference. I want them to understand that climate is our reason for driving an electric vehicle, for grilling plant-based burgers in the summer, and for composting our food waste. If it’s scary for them, I will want to comfort them and give them hope. And as a family of faith, I want to pray about climate with them – that we might be successful in reversing global warming, and that we might care for our neighbors when they bear the burdens of our changing climate.
If you have children, I urge you to consider having conversations of your own with them. Unfortunately, this is an issue that isn’t going away. And unlike Santa it’s actually re…I mean…I’ll stop talking now.