You know what really bothers me? When my sweet five year old asks out of the blue one morning before school, with a sad little worried expression, whether I think he will get presents from Santa this year. The reason he's anxious, it turns out, is because he knows he doesn't listen to me all of the time. Particularly in the morning, before school. Mind you, this is mid-November. And I have never told him that he needs to be good to get presents. (Although I did send him a creepy video card from Santa that said he was on the "good list" last year. Despite what my husband tells everyone in the chat forums, I'm not perfect.) And as tempting as it would be to milk the Santa thing for cooperation, I find it despicable to get your kids to behave for a month out of fear. But that concept - be good to get on Santa's list - is everywhere. In songs, on shows, in movies. Even before Thanksgiving.
Maybe that's too harsh to say I find it despicable. Tons of excellent parents do it and I'm sure it doesn't destroy their children. Mine probably did it too. I don't remember. But I hate the idea that we teach children that they should get presents because they deserve it for "behaving." How about the idea that he is getting presents because he is loved and he needs to try to be on good behavior ALL year long?
To be clear, I'm not above bribery when it comes to parenting. Sometimes parenting is about survival. But Christmas is a HUGE thing and that sort of emotional black mail disturbs me. I don't have any lawn signs that tell people to put the Christ in Christmas, but I do want to preserve the true spirit of Christmas. Love, family, giving, homemade cookies and all of that important jazz.
In other news, I found this on the back of one of Nate's school papers. So obviously, I have this whole parenting thing under control. I cannot wait for my parent-teacher conference next month.