Archive for December, 2010
I spent the last two weeks hoping against hope that C would make it until Christmas break without anyone from his class telling him their own truth about Santa. If we could just get through this year, I thought, it would be wonderful. C is so innocent, so naive; I want him to continue to revel in all the joy and wonder of Christmas as long as he can.
I’d been preparing myself for the tearful conversation every day before picking him up, and it wasn’t long before I had my chance. But you can imagine my surprise when he scrambled into the car the other day brimming, not with tears, but with incredulousness. “Mom,” he said breathlessly. “Guess what? NONE of the kids in my class believe in Santa Claus. Can you believe that? That is just crazy!!! I’m shocked!! They all told me that when I get older you’ll tell me there is no Santa Claus, and I can’t believe that. I told them ‘no way.’”
Once again, I misjudged my child, and once again, he surprised me in the most delightful way. So strong is his belief that it wasn’t even challenged by the beliefs of his entire class. So steadfast is his faith that the discussion did not allow even a flicker of doubt to enter his pretty little head.
We shared a lively discussion on the way home as C spent the entire 25 minutes of the ride exclaiming his absolute surprise at the attitudes of his classmates. He didn’t even ask me if I believe in Santa, but I offered my input anyway (I believe). Yet in those moments, I had a new vision of my child who so clearly wasn’t being swayed by everyone around him. Suddenly, instead of thinking of C as a follower, I saw him as a leader. Sure, he might be wandering totally off the path all by himself, but his conviction is there and he’s willing to stand up for it. Go C.
We should all learn a lesson from that.
Among the many changes coming up for us includes C going to a Christian school. The public schools in our newly adopted Southern city are not right for him, the charter schools are impossible to get into, and the private schools are almost all religious based. It made for an interesting trip recently when Husband and I did the “great school search,” which is a story for another post.
We haven’t brought C up in a church. I’ve always loved the ritual of church, the music, the fellowship, and the calmness. And while I’m a very religious person who prays constantly throughout the day, I’m also an anthropologist by training, and I have a hard time reconciling the flaws of organized religion with the gifts of it.
Aside from that, church has been one of those places fraught with potential minefields for C. From going up to the front alone for the children’s message, to being in Sunday school classes with a teacher not equipped to deal with C’s early sensory and communication challenges, we just never thought it would be a good place for C to hang out.
Now, however, it’s a different story. C will still stand out like he always does, but I think he’s ready to handle the personal rigors that church will present to him. Moreover, he is interested at the moment. He’s full of questions about God and Heaven. And none too soon, because we’re basically moving to church-town, USA. We will be attending a church, because that’s what people in our new town do.
In preparation for all these upcoming changes, I started talking to C about prayer. From the prayer circle in his new class – where at least once a day the kids join hands and share their prayers of concern or thanks – to Sunday school at our new church, C will need to be comfortable with his newfound religion. So I told him about prayer, why people do it, why I do it, and what it means for different people. We got down together on our knees the other night and said our prayers out loud despite his being a little shy about it. Since that night, I have reminded him to say his prayers privately, knowing that he probably was not doing so. I thought I’d give it a couple of days and talk to him about it again.
Yet last night, a few minutes after lights out, he quietly opened his door and asked me a question. “Mom,” he said, “I’m saying my prayers, and I can’t remember – what’s that word you say at the end again?”
“Amen, C. Amen.”