I've already talked about how I struggle with telling my girls the myth of Santa Claus. I mostly came to terms with it last year by making sure that the Veggie Tales St. Nicholas* story is watched often to keep the true story and the meaning of Santa at the forefront. My four year old is getting it a little. She told me the other day that Santa's real name is St. Nicholas.
But this is also the first year that she is exposed to peers at school talking about Santa Claus. And, as it turns out, her preschool teacher.
She loves her teacher. I like her teacher. Minus two incidents (one that has nothing to do with my child).
Yesterday she came home from school and told me that you have to 'have (short for behave) for Santa to bring you presents. My daughter does 'have so she expects to get presents. But Miss H--- said that K---- won't get presents if he doesn't 'have. (I'm not going to even get into the public shaming side of things, which I'm not a fan of.)
I really hadn't thought about the naughty/nice list side of Santa until then. It's not something my parents emphasized or held over our heads for good behavior (thank you, Mom and Dad). I cringed a little, and then told my daughter that I feel that Santa Claus is about selflessly giving to others and loving others. Everyone is good sometimes and bad sometimes, but everyone (particularly a four year old kid for Pete's sake) deserves a present from Santa. And this is all I'll say again and again as she brings up the naughty/nice issue.
On further contemplation, I realized there are two main reasons I don't like that side of Santa Claus. First of all, getting presents is not the right motivation for good behavior. (Neither is fear of punishment, I know that even though we use it sometimes, but we're working on that.) I want my children to want to do the right thing because it's the right thing. Not because they want to get more things.
Second, what about the kid whose personality makes it harder to behave, particularly in a classroom? It's honestly easy for my daughter to behave at school. She's quiet, gets along well with most people, likes pleasing adults, and enjoys learning. She's never had a single day when she didn't want to go to school (I've seen almost every one of her classmates reluctantly hanging onto their parent's leg, not wanting to go in, at one point or another). But the kid who has a lot of energy, who would really just prefer to pretend to be a dinosaur all day? Behaving, according to the confines of preschool, is a bit harder. That doesn't make him bad or less deserving of presents.
What do you think of the naughty/nice list side of Santa Claus? Or do you not overthink these things like I do?
* I love something new about this show this year. I hadn't noticed it before. At the end, the Veggies leave their church worship to go out and serve their neighbor in need. Yes, worshipping in church is important. But serving, doing exactly what Christ would have done, is more important.