I love it when I find something completely unrelated to public education and I can find a fit for it. That happened to me recently when I read a blog from the BC Epilepsy Society entitled “Empowering Yourself During COVID-19 (April 17, 2020)”. The blog is about the emotional state of FEAR and how it can paralyze us — keeping us from moving forward in a time of uncertainty.
Fear … it prevents us from thinking rationally and instead puts us into an emotional firestorm — a mindset that debilitates us from finding a reasonable solution to the new situation. Now, don’t misunderstand me. Fear is natural and useful — it has a place in keeping us safe. But, that time is in the initial instant we are confronted with a danger — that grizzly bear staring at us on the hiking trail. Fear of that bear elevates our senses and our reactivity — the fight or flight response. What it doesn’t do is allow us to be contemplative, rational and thoughtful.
In this season of celebration for the many cultures and religions in our community and around the world, a common focus is the importance of kindness and generosity. With this in mind, I want to share with you a story that I came across the other day of ‘Believing in Santa’ which captures this same importance.
A Son Asks His Dad if There is a Santa Claus
Son: Dad, I think I’m old enough to know now. Is there a Santa Claus?
Not being the world’s fastest thinker, I stalled for time
Dad: OK, I agree that you’re old enough. But, before I tell you, I have a question for you. You see, the truth is a dangerous gift. Once you know something, you can’t un-know it. Once you know the truth about Santa Claus, you will never again understand and relate to him as you do now. So my question to you is: Are you sure you want to know?
Son: Yes, I want to know
Dad: OK, I’ll tell you. Yes, there IS a Santa Claus.
Dad: Yes, really, but he’s not an old man with a beard and a red suit. That’s just what we tell kids. You see, kids are too young to understand the true nature of Santa Claus, so we explain it to them in a way they can understand. The truth about Santa Claus is that he’s not a person at all — he’s an idea. Think of all those presents Santa gave you over the years. I actually bought those for you. I watched you open them. Did it bother me that you didn’t thank me? Of course not. In fact, it gave me great pleasure. You see, Santa Claus is THE IDEA OF GIVING FOR THE SAKE OF GIVING, without thought of thanks or acknowledgement.
When I saw that person hurt themselves on the sidewalk last week I called for help. The person didn’t know who called the ambulance. I was being Santa Claus when I did that.
Son: Oh, I get it.
Dad: So, now that you know, you’re part of it. You have the responsibility to be Santa Claus from now on. And being Santa means spreading the spirit of giving without the need for thanks, and looking for opportunities to help.
Anonymous – Adapted from an internet posting
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season filled with the spirit of kindness and giving in how ever that looks for you and your family,