For the past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about Santa Claus. To be specific I’ve been thinking about when a child learns the truth about Santa (for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, please stop reading and go play outside instead).
I don’t remember exactly when or how I learned about Santa. I think it had something to do with the Toys R Us price tags that would show up on my presents sometimes. It seemed pretty odd that Santa, with all of those elves, could find time to build presents for thousands of children around the world, but had to go to a toy store for mine. Plus it turns out my mom has the same trouble with price tags when it came to my birthday presents. However I figured it out, it was a pretty gentle transition.
I do remember when my brother Mark found out. It was about a week before Christmas and he was in elementary school. He came into the living room so angry with our parents for lying to him. I remember clearly that he declared that there was no Santa, no Tooth Fairy, and no God. So so angry with us! I’m not sure which parent talked to him and calmed him down, explaining the reasons for the stories and reminding him that there were still presents under the tree. I realized in the experience that if I have kids someday, perhaps Santa should not be part of the holiday if a child can connect the telling of a fable with doubt in a Creator.
The reason this has been on my mind so much this week is a variety of conversations with friends and co-workers about the business world works. As a company, any company, makes changes to grow and improve, I understand that those changes can have positive and negative impact on those involved. I get the logic of this process. What I do not get is how, when a friend is the one who is negatively impacted, you are just supposed to go back to normal the next day. While in high school, one of my favorite math teachers lost his job due to district finances. Around the same time, our Youth Pastor at church was let go for reasons never shared with the youth (which led to some wild and random rumors). A few years ago, due to the struggling economy, 13 members of the college I serve at either lost their jobs or had a reduction of their hours. Right now we are going through transitions again as part of a strategic reorganization to be more focused on the needs of our diverse urban population of traditional and adult students. New programs and structures are being put in place while other programs, and some of their leaders, are having to move on. Again, I get the logic that this how the business world works. And I get that I do not have the authority, experience, or education to make these types of choices yet.
I can’t help feeling like a child being told there is no Santa Claus; I’d like to hand my rose-colored glasses to the grown ups and show them that maybe its better from my worldview.