The parenting books didn’t tell me how to deal with the fallout of telling my daughter the truth about Santa Claus (see previous post titled “Santa Claus”). It would seem that in my bid to be honest with my daughter when she asked me if Santa Claus is real, I have now taken the joy out of Christmas for her. About once per week, we have a discussion about how Christmas isn’t the same anymore, she cries, and she wishes she still believed in Santa Claus. Yesterday she told me that she wished she had never asked me if Santa was real.
I told her that I was very sorry that she was upset. That being a parent isn’t easy. Sometimes Mommy’s and Daddy’s have to make choices. They do the best they can and hope they make the right one. My six year old daughter looked me straight in the eye, while crying I might add, and said, “According to my calculations (this is her new favorite phrase)….According to my calculations, you didn’t make the right one.”
What exactly am I supposed to say to that? I have had all the discussions with her about Jesus being the real reason for our joy during the Christmas season. We’ve talked about how the “spirit of Christmas” lives in our hearts, etc.,…etc.,….etc. None of this seems to matter to her. Most of her friends still believe in Santa and are asking her if she believes in him, too. She doesn’t like being put in this position, and I can’t say that I blame her. She knows that Mommy has told her not to lie, but I’ve also told her not to talk about it to other kids who still believe in Santa. So, like me, when presented with the question, what is she supposed to do? Like me, she told the the truth…no, she doesn’t believe in Santa. This is a lot for a six year old to have to bear.
I, of course, being the one who has forced this situation upon her, feel like a complete and total heel now. For those of you who thought you were in the running for “Bad Mommy of the Year Award,” you can stop losing sleep now because a winner has been chosen.
“Yes, Dr. Sears, I did tell my daughter that Santa isn’t real when she was only six years old. Yes, it is my fault that she is now in the position of having to either lie to her friends or tell them the truth and risk their scorn when she says that she doesn’t believe in Santa Claus anymore. Yes, my honesty has caused her to feel the joy of Christmas is no more. Go ahead and call Child Protective Services. I’m obviously not fit to be a mother.”
Ok…ok, so I’m being a bit melodramatic here. But, truth be told, when I’m looking into her little face as the crocodile tears stream down her cheeks and she tells me it wasn’t the right choice, it breaks my heart, and I couldn’t feel any worse. So much so that I began to question whether or not I had made the right decision. Should I have looked her straight in the eye and said, “Yes, Honey, Santa is real?” Then she could have had the joy of believing a bit longer.
As I thought about it more, though, I realized that even knowing what I know now, I still would have done the same thing. Not lieing to her was not the wrong decision. And God, in His infinite love, confirmed that for me this morning in my devotion time.
I was reading from an advent devotional, and the author mentioned about how there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs…one for each day of the month. Imagine how much wisdom we would carry with us if we read one chapter each day. I thought, well, it’s day 12…why not? I’ll start with Chapter 12.
As I was reading, my eyes hit upon verse 17. It said, “A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies.” I continued to read and verse 19 said, “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” And then, the one I needed the most. Verse 22 said, “The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful.” (NIV)
Note it doesn’t say, “except for when it involves telling your six year old the truth about Santa Claus.” It simply says, “The Lord detests lying lips….”
Thanks God, I needed that. My daughter is upset with me. I know it won’t be the last time I make a choice that she is unhappy with and thinks “is the wrong one.” But God didn’t give her to me so that I could be her friend. He made me her mother. It is my job to train her in His ways, even when it hurts.
She also needs to be able to trust that when she asks me a question, she doesn’t have to wonder whether or not Mommy is going to tell her the truth. Some may think I’m being too literal about this, that I’m blowing it way out of proportion. But, I don’t think so. Where does the line get drawn and how do you determine when it’s not okay and when it is? The answer is, you don’t.
Sticking to what God says we should do in His Word may not always be the easiest path, but it will always be the right one. That is what I hope to teach my daughter in all of this.