Last week my wife and I had the talk with our youngest. Not that “the talk”, the one about the man in the red suit. It went pretty well and I would like to share how we did it, just in case you are stuck.
We started by having it at brunch on a Sunday. It was a beautiful setting and one that communicated importance and also served to eliminate distractions from home. Like this was an event.
He sat in his mom’s lap and i said to him, “We are so proud of you and of the man you are becoming. We have noticed signs of maturity. Multiple times you have said some things and I thought, wow! That was insightful. So, because of that, we think it is important to let you in on a secret. It is an important secret and one that is kept very, very well. Knowing this secret will change everything for you. And you have to promise, I mean absolutely promise, that you will not ruin this secret for anyone. Can you promise that?”
He looked a little scared and kinda taken aback and promised. I said, “ok. But you really can’t share this secret with anyone. You really can’t even talk about it with other people that know it because it might get overheard by someone that doesn’t know it. Your brother has known it for like 2 years and hasn’t even shared it with you. Do you see how important it is?” He said yes.
I said, ok, once i tell you this, you can’t un-know it. Are you sure you want to know? He said yes again. I said, ” Santa Claus is not a man in a red suit. He does not live at the north pole and does not fly around in a sleigh with flying reindeer. He is, however, real, in the sense that he is an idea. He is a character made up to teach kids about selfless giving and empathy to all based solely on the fact that they are humans. He is a model for us to follow to help people in need or sometimes not in need. Just to give for the sake of giving.” I went on to discuss selflessness and give some examples and talked about how Santa leaves toys for kids and expects absolutely nothing in return.
Then we talked about how believe can be used in two different ways. You can believe in Santa in that there is a guy in a red suit. Or you can believe in the idea of being Santa and the ideals that the character embodies. We closed it out with a reiteration of him not discussing and how now he is part of the club that gets to be Santa. We also discussed logistics of each of us still messing with the elf on the shelf and getting to do cool things to surprise each other. It was a good moment.
Have you had the talk with your kids? Did you do it this way or some other way? Share with me your approach.