Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny walked into a bar….

My son recently lost another tooth that had been loose for quite a while. He was thrilled to get rid of it because he knew the Tooth Fairy was going to leave him some loot.

Last time, the tooth fairy left him money and a note asking him to take really good care of his teeth because she wasn’t going to reward bad tooth brushing habits.

I was talking with a friend who brought up the fact that we don’t encourage the mythical Santa Claus at our house, yet we encourage the Tooth Fairy. How could that be?

I walk a fine line with my kids. I encourage make-believe, but also try to insert the truth where I can. Last year was the first time my son really asked for an explanation about Santa Claus and I reinforced what I believe. Christmas (which by the way is about 80 days away for all of us slackers) is about celebrating the birth of Jesus and acknowledging the greatest gift of all. Santa Claus was a man who lived a long time ago and generously gave gifts to poor children. Each year we remember and celebrate his faith and generosity at Christmas time. So just like baby Jesus didn’t stay a baby forever, St. Nicholas did not stay around forever either. But we remember the good they did.

Yet at the same time we did the Elf on the Shelf. The elf watches you over the holidays and reports back to Santa whether you were good or not. And let me tell you, that was fun to watch. I saw T. start to do something one time and he looked up at the elf and decided against it. He was very concerned about the elf’s reporting abilities. (So bringing him back out this year. Talk about motivation to behave!)

Yeah, I’m full of mixed messages.

I remind my kids that everyone believes different things and that we should respect what other people believe. I sincerely hope mine aren’t the kids that reveal that Santa Claus doesn’t live in the North Pole.

And maybe when they’re older they’ll be able to reconcile the mixed signals I’ve been giving them. Wonder how much that therapist is going to run them.

Do you face the same challenge of balancing mixed messages with your kids?

Reace Alvarenga-Smith
Public Relations Manager
Texas Health Resources

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