I’m starting to despise this whole email business. It’s a sneaky thing: you make naive assumptions when your phone dings, thinking it’s going to be a friendly message from your friends saying hi, or an invitation to lunch, or even a request to switch library volunteer schedule with someone. Only, OFTEN it’s NOT. It’s an Amazon local deal asking you to spend spend spend to get fit fit fit, or worse.
Today it was an email from the teacher.
V had revealed the Santa truth to his class.
Now, this isn’t a big deal in Indian culture (Santa doesn’t have a big fan following. yet.), not a big deal in our family (because he’s known it for a couple of years and we just rolled with it), but it definitely is a big, huge, giant deal for some parents. To be honest, I haven’t really understood how belief in one mythical figure is so indicative of a North American child’s perceived innocence that parents will go to unimaginable lengths to keep their 13yo’s faith in him alive. Not merely alive even; I have known parents to actually lose it and blame another kid of robbing their own older child of his naivete.
Maybe like I don’t understand a Jehovah witness’s compulsion to convert others, or something like, say, Mormonism, I don’t understand the whole Santa cult either. However. I choose to respect that which I do not understand or necessarily agree with. And this is why I was disappointed to get that note from the teacher, because my kid theoretically knows better than to announce his conviction to a packed class of 7yo believers. Theoretically. We have consciously and purposely had this discussion at home many times — of keeping this fact to yourself, especially during the holiday season. Obviously, though, a thousand repetitions weren’t enough to keep his memory refreshed, and he apparently “forgot”.
After the initial tempers we had a dense (as in concentrated, not dumb) little discussion about “truth” vs “right” (I tried to explain what is true is not necessarily what is right, but in his mind if a thing is true, it is not false and therefore right. Fair enough. Impressive thought process.) I came away believing that kids lead a fascinating internal life and usually figure out things we try to shield them from.
So, if a disgruntled parent comes to me whining about my kid ruining their kid’s life, I’ll just have to say…
“Hey, it wasn’t me!”