Tag Archives: parenting

The Ghost of Christmas Past

16 Dec

Can I just say that I am shocked and appalled at the moment! After reading a recent comment thread on a post from an old high school friend of mine I was completely disheartened to find that there are so many modern parents who are skewing the notion of Santa and therefore depriving their children of a traditional childhood rite of passage.

The post started off innocent enough, just a curious mom wondering about what age her friends were when they stopped believing in Santa Claus; somehow it took a turn from there.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with logic and reality but at some point enough is enough.  Said friend admits that her daughter really doesn’t get the concept of Christmas yet (in all honestly she is probably still a little young to fully grasp it) but she also touched on another point for a different blog I have been working on so, Voila! The Girl in the Black Flip Flops brings you a twofer special today!a.aaa-The-Death-of-Santa-Claus

My friend also eludes that her daughters lack of Santa knowledge is possibly due to her own lack of care to decorate for the holiday finding it all “a hassle for short term fun”   Where have I heard this similar sentiment recently?  Oh! That’s right! A lovely little piece written by a one Hannah Bird of the Nauvoo Times, an LDS blog site featuring Ender’s Game author, Orson Scott Card.  In this blog, Ms. Bird speaks of the dangers of the recently found holiday tradition of the Elf on the Shelf.  Now, if Ms. Birds objections to this holiday past time were of a religious nature then I might be inclined to turn the other cheek; however, it seems that her chief complaint with the doll is that it adds even more pressure to keep up with the Jones to already over worked woman around the globe.  And here we have come full circle back to my friend who finds holiday decorating, “a hassle for short term fun.”

Oh, I am beginning to think that quiz I took the other day on Facebook to find my real age was right because I feel very old at the moment.  Maybe it’s because these women have this precious gift that I myself was denied in having children, and as luck would have it, small children.  Maybe it’s just that I have watched Fiddler on the Roof a few too many times and can hear Tevye singing Tradition in the back of my head but I can’t help but feel like somewhere along the way we have lost our sense of the wonder and mystery that is this time of year.  It is not just my friend and her lack of enthusiasm for adorning the Christmas tree, after all, I myself have opted for a small table top Charlie Brown tree my mom bought me as a gag gift a couple of years back for the last few years.  It’s that there are so many of the commenter’s that feel the same way.  When did we stop taking time to foster imagination in our children?  It shouldn’t be about how tired you are at the end of the day or how much you have left to do, it should be about seeing that look on your child’s face the next morning when she rushes though the house in search of what mischief your elf has been up to while she slept.  It should be about the excitement of your son as he races to the tree on Christmas morning in hopes of finding that one special gift he has had his heart set on for weeks now.  It’s the look of pure joy, innocence and adoration that make it worth it to me.  No matter how tired my parents were there was one thing I could always count on in my house and that was that Santa would come and eat the cookies I left for him and that even if everything in the world was going wrong, come December, I would always remember that I had a family that loved me and I had a place to always call home.  I could only tell you a handful of the things I ever got for Christmas, only the most memorable stick out in my head to this day, but as I have gotten older it is those warm and fuzzy feelings that I cling to.  To this day, I have yet to miss the local NBC news on Christmas Eve (even though we only watch FOX or ABC the rest of the year) to see Santa on the radar.  There has only been one or two Christmas Eve’s that I have missed driving through the neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights.  We still only open one gift on Christmas Eve (Usually the PJ’s that mom has stashed for us somewhere) and there are still Christmas cookies for Santa and the reindeer, even if Santa is in Heaven now.

Having children is about sacrifice.  When you have them, your life is no longer really about you anymore.  Those children become your world.  What I would give to have that opportunity that so many seem ready to squander away.  It’s not even really a matter of Jesus vs. Santa either; we always knew the reason for the season and Mom was always there to remind us what we were really celebrating, but without that magical wonder that my parents cultivated in me and my brother, I don’t really think that we would be the caring, sensitive people that we are today.  Maybe if we taught our children how to dream and believe in magic again this world wouldn’t be such a cold and callous place to live anymore.

You Can’t Be Your Kids Friend! Stop Trying!

12 Feb

tp-houseLast week a Tarrant County Texas court decided to indict Colleyville mother Tara Mauney on a criminal mischief charge.  Last summer Mauney was accused of leading a group of teenagers in a “prank” gone bad on a neighboring house.  What should have been a harmless episode of toilet papering a neighborhood house went awry when profanity was laced across the facade of the house in permanent marker and raw chicken parts were left in the mailbox.  $6000 worth of damage later, Mauney claims she was at home asleep when her daughter and some of her friends snuck out of the house and pulled the prank; however the courts see otherwise.  Chief in the prosecution’s evidence was store surveillance of Ms. Mauney purchasing a large amount of toilet paper at a local store earlier in the evening of the attack.  I’m not sure when buying toilet paper in bulk became a crime and even if she knew that the girls intended on TP ing the house did she know about any of the other vandalism?

But at the heart of this issue is the reader comments from the story.  There seem to be a pretty even mix of people who feel that the mom is being wrongly convicted and people who feel that the mom is guilty (even if for no other reason than the fact that she buys her TP in bulk).  I don’t really know if she was there or encouraged it or was really at home in bed asleep, nor do I really care.  But this makes me think of all the people who have kids who are trying so hard to be their friend instead of their parent.

I tried to comment on the story but for some reason I couldn’t get my comment to post.  But, if  I could have, my reply would have gone something like this;

I once had a neighbor who had that “But they are just kids” mentality all the while allowing her kids to play soccer in the front yard (even though they had a large, empty back yard). This meant that when the kids would kick the ball it would hit our cars and leave dents all over them.  My mom was notorious for telling her, “they are only kids until you teach them better!”  Its true though, you can’t blame a kid who thinks its ok to throw a fit in the middle of a store or fast food joint because they don’t know any better, they think this is ok behaviour since no one has bothered to teach them differently.  I used to get so irritated at kids who would run around and act a fool or throw fits or just in general be a brat but then I realized, they don’t know any better and I really should be upset with mom and dad for not taking the time to teach them better.

Too many times parents are concerned with their kids liking them or wanting their kids to be their friend thinking that if they are friends that their kid will tell them secrets and things that are going on in their life.  News flash people, you were not put on this earth to be your kids friend and by being the “cool” mom you are not guaranteeing that your kid is going to tell  you a damn thing about their life.  Teenagers are secretive, moody little beings whose prime goal is to irritate you.

Now, growing up, my parents gave me a healthy dose of scare and it ensured that I kept my butt out of trouble.  Sure, I lied to my mom about the theater that me and my date were going to or which of my friends would be at the mall with me but I was taught (and had the fear of God instilled in me) to know better than to allow myself to be in a position that was going to get me into real trouble.  If my date got a little too fresh or my friends decided to do something stupid that I knew better than to be a part of I would find the closest pay phone and call my mom.  The lecture that I would get for lying was much better than the one I would have gotten from my dad on the way home from the police station.  My parents were not concerned with being my friend, in fact they couldn’t have cared less if I even liked them because they knew that their job as a parent was to raise me to become a productive member of society with some common sense.  As a result of which (even though I wouldn’t have admitted it to them at the time) I respected them that much more and now that I am an adult my mom and I are pretty good friends and I feel like I can talk to her about anything and usually do.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still her child and she does annoy me sometimes but I still know that it is coming from a place of love and concern.

This isn’t just about teenagers either, you have got to start this stuff early, raise your child up with a healthy fear and respect and they will continue on this path.  Look, you can’t be a parent and a friend at the same time, it’s a conflict of interest and will result in you being walked all over and your kid getting away with murder which eventually they won’t get away with it and then you really will be wishing that you had been their parent and not their friend.  Do yourself a favor and take the higher road and be a parent, you kid will (eventually) thank you for it!