I don’t write about religion.
But I’m going to today.
Not in a preachy way. Not in a argumentative way. No preaching, no prosthelyzing, no snakes. Religion is part of the story but it’s not THE story. So, if you are of a religious conviction different than mine, I respect you. Truly. The Fruit Loop Group is a nondenominational, all inclusive, all are welcome space. I say this because the minute you mention the word “religion”, people get tense. Let’s keep it friendly, okay? I’m not asking you to agree with my thoughts. Just hear me out.
We are a family who goes to church but are by NO MEANS Holy Rollers. Far from it, trust me. I took my birth control on the way to church. I say the F word. A lot. I sin more than I don’t some weeks. But, I have faith that The Man Upstairs sees past my faults and thinks I’m an okay gal most of the time. Both Hubby and I grew up in the same faith and we want our children to learn about our values, traditions and convictions. We send them to faith based religion classes taught by others mostly because I’m not at all qualified to teach them about topics I can barely grasp on a day to day basis.
My point: the story I’m about to tell took place during Fruit Loop #2’s religion class yesterday. So, you see, religion will be a part of the story but not THE story.
When Fruit Loop #2 came out of her religion class yesterday, she looked at me with big brown eyes and said, “Mommy, Santa isn’t real. My teacher told me so.” Because the hallway was crowded and I wasn’t sure I heard her correctly, I pulled her to the wall, squatted down and asked her to repeat what she said.
“Mrs. Scrooge* told us that Santa isn’t real, that parents fill the stockings and that St. Nick was a real person who died and he can’t be Santa,” she said. (*Name changed to protect the guilty.)
Well, okay. I guess I did hear her correctly.
Her teacher is a grown up. Someone who has been teaching classes in our religion for many years. Someone I trusted to help guide my child through the murky waters of intangible topics like faith, hope and charity. And she managed to destroy Christmas for a class full of nine year olds.
A grown up, someone who should have known BETTER, looked at a class full of innocent children and crushed the crap out of the Christmas spirit.
And it broke my heart.
I’d always expected this day to come. I’d envisioned Fruit Loop #1 coming off the bus, bewildered and shocked because some mouthy bully decided to blab The Big Secret. I worried about Fruit Loop #2 playing on the playground and a Mean Girl laughing at her for still believing like a baby.
Never did it occur to me that an adult would ruin Christmas.
What bothers me more, beyond the callousness, poor judgement, and the unbelievable display of Grinchness, is that it happened in the place where I worship. The place where once a week, I sit with the Fruit Loops and hope and pray that I am teaching them well about topics they can’t see. Things they can’t touch but that they should know as good humans. Words and phrases and actions that I want to be a part of their fabric but that are nearly impossible for children to understand.
To a nine year old, faith is intangible, foreign, weird.
But that nine year old KNOWS Santa is real. He makes sense. And he teaches them to believe that there’s someone in the universe who exists to do good works. To spread cheer. To bring love to people all over the world. And reinforces The Golden Rule.
Santa IS faith, if you think about it. Especially if you are nine.
Fortunately, Fruit Loop #2 decided that her teacher is on the Naughty List because she doesn’t believe, doesn’t have faith in Santa. But, for so many other children in that class, their faith was crushed, damaged, altered.
It’s so very sad to me.
As I watched Fruit Loop #2 stand in that hallway and wrestle with her beliefs, struggling to decide what was real, it made me hopeful that I’m doing the right thing by her. She chose to believe in something, something she had faith in, even after being told otherwise. It made me say a silent prayer of thanks, not because she still believed in Santa, but because I got to see the faith of a nine year old in action.
And it was a tiny Christmas miracle before my eyes.
But before you go thinking I’m going Holy Roller, I won’t lie: I’ll be going to Confession for wishing a stocking full of coal on Christmas morning for Mrs. Scrooge.
Because Scrooges SUCK.
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Darcy Perdu (So Then Stories) says
That’s outrageous!!! Mrs. Scrooge is certainly entitled to raise her own kids however she sees fit — but how DARE she ruin it for that class of 9 year olds? Honestly, I’m a peace-lovin’ mama, but I want to junk-punch Mrs. Scrooge right now!!!
Exactly, Darcy. EXACTLY. Just like politics: keep your views on kids believing in Santa to yourself or my Fruit Loop Group will junk punch you. It’s that simple 😉
SAME. THING. HAPPENED. My daughters 5th grade CCD teacher told the class that Santa isn’t real. I think my heart crumpled and broke into a million pieces. I wanted to call the Pope. I was so angry…. how dare she. I called the teacher and asked her how she could ever dare say those words and her response was that at this age she just assumed that all children realize that Santa isn’t real. And I flipped out again. WHAAAAAT???? She ruined the magic for my daughter…… I tried to fix it, but I couldn’t. Yes, maybe she was on the verge of knowing and YES, there are worse things that can happen. But just then, I can’t explain it but it was like I was punched in the gut. I was so sad. My daughter was OK…. fine, actually. Me, not so much.
Yes, Scrooges suck!!!!!
completely agree, Anna. I knew it was coming but thought I could control it better….and didn’t expect a grown up Grinch to crap on Christmas. I’ll let you know what the Pope says….
Veronica Velastegui says
I am a 3rd grade CCD teacher and I would NEVER do that to my students. They are still so innocent at that age. Personally, I love seeing the sparkles in their eyes when they talk about Santa. You have to be really heartless (religion or not) to do that to a room full of little kids.
Oh man! I have to say, I would be speaking…. No, yelling, to everyone in charge at that church!!!
Riki, I wanted to scream but a) didn’t want to cause too much more attention to my already questioning daughter and b) decided writing was a muuuuuuch better way to vent. And, I did address it with the teacher and the director. The director was sincerely apologetic and offered a very reasonable solution for us. She will be transferred to a class with a teacher who believes in Santa 🙂
Jealous moi? Yes! I watched the tv coverage and it looked fab as ever. I never saw the appeal of codllpay, they really do nothing for me. Queens of the Stone Age had me moving though. Did you see Beyonce? x
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Cynthia Gabriele says
I agree, Santa is within most of us. If only we could maintain this all year we would all be better off. There would be less harm done to others & we would always try to help someone less fortunate.
Cynthia, I know you do so much to help others during the year….you are Santa personified, friend. Thanks for reading!
I has to shush a conversation on Santa not being real the other day in front of my 12 year old. The mom just was loudly blabbing in front of a whole room of kiddos. I know I may be naive to believe that she still believes, but I truly do believe that she still believes! You can all roll your eyes, it is okay.
I am right there with you. My 13 & 11 year old boys have yet to say they don’t believe so I do not mention it either. I still do the Elf on the Shelf for fun and have told my husband that I will do “Santa” even when they know the truth. Christmas is what we make it and its all about tradition to me!
I hope you gave Mrs Scrooge a piece of your mind
How could anyone be so cruel!
Awwww hayle naw. Religion or no, that’s not her right to go there. How dare she! I hope parents call her out on this–I would!
Couldn’t agree with you more!! Happened to my girls (twins) in 3rd grade!!!! And by a ‘trusted’ adult family member and based on realistic religious beliefs. I was so sad for my girls, and all I could think of was, “they won’t hear the bells” anymore–as in the Polar Express ‘Christmas bells’. Once it is gone, it’s gone……..
Ugh…people! Heck I am 38 years old and have kids of my own but when I am at my parents house, Santa is very much alive. His presence and spirit of giving and all that encompasses the Holidays is very much alive. My mama always said, “if you don’t believe in Santa, he doesn’t bring you anything.” So by golly we believe. I had a moment of insanity awhile back and asked my husband if we needed to have the conversation with our 11 year old. I am pretty sure he knows, but hasn’t asked. My husbands response “why? Why do we need to? Did your parents talk to you? Do you suffer from extreme trauma because of it? Do you have trust issues because of it?” He was right. I grew up believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I had a great childhood. We are Christians and in our home I do not feel like Santa has taken ANYTHING away from the true meaning of Christmas. We work very hard and talk to our kids about the birth of our savior. We know the true meaning, but Santa is in our house as well. Growing up we would always come home from my Aunts house on Christmas Eve looking for Rudolph in the sky. We would rush home and try to get in bed quickly. If we were taking to long my Dad would somehow throw things on the roof and I swear I would hear bells, to get us in bed quicker. There was always a note left from Santa thanking us for the cookies and milk and carrots for the reindeer. These memories I treasure as an adult and carry on with my kids. Yes…my 11 year old doesn’t get as excited about it all, but it his brother and sister do! Please tell me the harm caused by believing in Santa? Yes…Scrooges SUCK!!
Jodie Dube says
I, myself, is not very religious but I have always taught my children the values of the church I was brought up with and I also informed my sweet, once innocent children that Santa brings the magic of Christmas while he is not the only part of Christmas to be remembered. I can’t believe Scrooge could do something so earth shattering to an innocent. My sister in law has never done “Santa”- her children have always known there wasn’t a jolly old man who snuck in the house to leave presents- it is her choice and one that has always been respected- but neither of her children have ever told other innocents about not believing in Santa because of how their mom explained that there are more innocents that believe than ones that don’t. Scrooge is getting coal- my children are now 18 and 22 and there is a sign on the wall that states, “If you don’t believe in Santa, you get underwear” and while the oldest needs boxers, he has already decreed his belief in Santa and boxers are just an item on his list- and yes, 22 and 18, they still write lists to Santa
Mrs Scrooge’s son ruined ALL the magical holidays in one fateful sleepover for our youngest at age 8 as he judgingly told our son No Santa, No Easter bunny and No Tooth fairy. Big blue eyes looked to my dropped jaw.