Raising kids is controversial. Homeschool or public school? Immunizations or not? Whether you’re talking about television, what you let your kids read, or whether they’re allowed to be online, text, or wear skinny jeans…there’s always a critic. I am tired of feeling insecure because of well-meaning moms saying horrible things about what I do or do not let my kids do.
I know I am tempting all kinds of good Christian women to send me hate mail by writing this post, but I am feeling rather opinionated lately. I’ve been responding to some questions on blogs and Facebook, and I realized I wanted to say it all at once, and I wanted to say it here.
So. Yes, I believe in Jesus and yes, I am a Christian. And yes. We do Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and Easter Bunny. Yes, I carve pumpkins with my kids and let them dress up as favorite characters and go to a harvest fair. Yes, I go to sleep each night with a clear conscience before my God.
There has been quite a little debate raging on Twitter lately about Santa. So far, I seem to be in the minority. In real life, I am considered normal, but online buddies are vehemently against the whole Santa thing. I don’t mind difference of opinions, that’s what makes life interesting. So the moms that bother me aren’t the ones who state their beliefs and reasons, but the ones who essentially tell moms who do differently that they are ruining their kids’ chances of growing up Godly.
Well. In the beginning, I said all the same things. I don’t want to lie to my baby. Christmas is about Jesus. And so on. Then my dad had my two year old for a day close to Christmas. She came home so indoctrinated and so excited about Santa that I threw up my hands and went along with it.
I was a young mom and went along with what my parents and in-laws said. I might have done it differently if I’d had kids in my thirties, when I started being more sure of myself. I’m glad I didn’t, though, because we’ve had great fun over the years with Santa. Our focus is always on Christ, and Santa is part of that celebration. It doesn’t take away from the true meaning of Christmas unless you let it.
I never had to convince my kids, or figure out reasons for parts of the story that don’t make sense. As soon as my oldest started asking questions, I told her the truth. And guess what? She is thirteen now and she is on fire for God, in love with her parents and tells her mommy every little thing. She trusts us. She believes in God.
This disproves the arguments I’ve heard, and I’ve heard it all. That our kids won’t trust us in the future or that they’ll end up thinking we’re lying about Jesus, too. Well that’s just silly. We might teach our kids about God, but He draws them to Himself. We show them the way, but they grow to know Him in their own hearts. Him—a real, loving God with whom they have a personal relationship. Not a random character that plops a Barbie on the fireplace once a year. How could anyone not see the difference?
My girl is proof that a kid can believe in Santa and still end up being a Christian.
My guess is, several of those angry moms are proof, too. They admit their parents did Santa for them. So while I understand their reasoning, I do not understand the need to condemn moms who choose differently. It’s the same thing at Halloween. Carving a pumpkin does not make me a pagan. And, just so you know, calling someone a pagan does not make you a better Christian.
Now that my youngest is six and will probably learn the truth too soon, I am nostalgically reminiscing of the days when both my little ones went to bed in anticipation of the unknown. Of slipping candy in stockings and hearing relatives ask all day long, “What did Santa bring you?”
It’s part of our culture, our country’s traditions and my family’s, too. So, please. Can’t we agree to disagree? I promise not to tell you you’re ruining your children, and you can leave me alone, too.
As long as I’m being controversial, here are a few more tidbits. I don’t let my kids read Harry Potter. They’re not allowed to wear anything with skulls, or watch most television. But we do love iCarly and SpongeBob is a household favorite. I let them wear pretty much whatever they want, (besides skulls) as long as not too much skin is showing. We love makeup and shopping and sometimes have cookies for breakfast.
I’ve spanked. I’ve skipped church for no good reason. We’ve slept ‘til noon and stayed up ‘til 2am. And here’s the big one: I homeschool my kids and I teach them that the only way to heaven is through Jesus.
You can disagree. That’s okay. Just don’t tell me I’m not a good Christian because my silly rules are different than yours.
What are some things you’re sick of being criticized for?