Fourth grade is a crucial year. I would know because I taught it for 6 years. Every year in December I would create a math test to assess their knowledge of the concept we had just spent weeks learning. However, there was always one question, the last one, that I was most curious about on this December math test.
20) Is Santa Claus real?
The ones who answered “Yes” simply thought it was a gimmie. An easy question because it was Christmas time. They thought it was as question I put on there so I would have an even 20 questions instead of 19.
The ones who answered “No”, I knew it was time for a chat. So at lunch time, I would line up the students who answered “Yes” without them knowing why I lined them up specifically. I would send them off and I would talk to the rest. It would go something like this…
Raise your hand if you’re not sure if Santa is real or not. Hands around the room would go up and furtive looks would be passed to one another. Do you know I think Santa is real? In fact, I know he is. Think about what Santa does. He delivers presents to people around the world. How do those people feel waking up to gifts under their tree? Pretty amazing, right? Santa spreads joy and happiness. That right there is what the whole Christmas season is about, bringing joy to others. This is a time of year for family, friends, fun, and feeling festive. So really Santa is a person who represents all that. Kind of like the flag represents our country or a cross represents Christianity, Santa represents Christmas spirit. As long as you, as long as others continue to spread joy and happiness, Santa is very real.
But let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas. This is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Heads would nod, faces would smile, and each of them understood what I meant. Then they’d go on their merry way to lunch and the subject would never be mentioned again.
I bring this up because just yesterday, Crash (who is in 4th grade now) was talking about a picture he colored of cookies and milk for Santa. It’s currently on the fridge and he says to me, “I want to tape it to the table we leave Santa’s cookies and milk on. But I think its you and mom who eat the cookies, drink the milk and buy the presents.”
I paniced. I tried to stay calm on the outside but my insides were screaming and crying on the floor like a full blown toddler tantrum in the candy aisle. My only response was, “I wouldn’t do that. They’re not my treats.” Nothing else was said.
I also bring this up because of a Facebook post that’s been making its rounds. It’s an amazing story of how a mom handled her son’s disbelief in Santa. If you haven’t read it yet, please go here. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you come back.
See? Pretty awesome, right? Essentially, it’s what I told my 4th graders, Santa is the spirit of giving and all things happy. However, she took it a few steps further by allowing him to BE Santa.
I knew this day would come. I just didn’t think it would come this soon. I didn’t think it would be today.