Ten little words I didn’t think I would hear from my young son for at least another year. But I figured if he was asking me to tell him the truth then he already knew something was up. Many of my mom-friends have asked what I told him and I wanted to share it with you as well.
My son's name is Benjamin.
First, I told him that he was right: I buy and wrap all of his Santa gifts and fill everyone’s stockings. Then I told him he now gets to learn about the real magic of Santa at Christmas and shared with him a brief version of the story of Santa. A long time ago there lived a man whose name was Nicholas…He was kind and filled with love and gave gifts to those who had nothing. Many were inspired by his love and kindness and, when he passed away, people around the world continued telling his stories and sharing gifts with others. This has happened for hundreds and hundreds of years.
I shared with Benjamin that knowing the truth about Santa comes with great responsibility: showing others how to believe in the things we can’t see: love, kindness, hope. I told him about the special magic of caring for those around us and sharing our time and love with those in need. How when we share love like that, it can multiply until it fills the world with magic and compassion and love.
I want my children to keep believing in magic. Believing in the things you can’t see is what gives us the confidence to change the world in which we live. Believing in the things you can't see is what makes the scientist continue looking for a cure for cancer. It’s what pushes the young inventor to keep tinkering with ideas in his room. It's what pushes the pre-k child to create the most incredible block buildings or write imaginative fantasy stories in a journal. Believing in magic will someday save the rainforests, stop global warming, create peace, and find renewable resources for the future. Believing in the things you can’t see is what will bring peace and love and magic to our world.
Magic that changes the world...It starts in childhood.
Benjamin took our conversation very well. Whenever a younger cousin mentions Santa, Ben gives us a knowing look and smiles. When we do our Advent acts of kindness each day, he enjoys it more than he has in the past. I was worried that finding out the truth would take away some of the childhood magic for him but there’s been a different kind of magic this year for our family. For that, I am thankful.
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist…how dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen and unseeable in the world."
The above quote is from Frank Church’s 1897 editorial response to 8-year old Virginia O’Hanlon when she wrote to the newspaper asking if there was a Santa Claus.