At our elementary school’s Holiday Concert, one kindergartener was completely dressed in a Santa Suit! I couldn’t resist looking totally shocked and saying to him, “Omigosh, I didn’t realize Santa was going to be here!”
He smiled at me, placed his hands on his little padded belly and said quite seriously, “Mr. Boomsma, what would you like for Christmas?” A few hours later I realized how important his question was.
I was at a different event and was introduced to a Christmas Song I’d never heard before. I’m not sure how I missed this song–it was written in 1974 by Greg Lake as a protest against the commercialization of Christmas. The song has an interesting history, but it has an even more interesting closing line:
“We get the Christmas we deserve…”
That’s something to think about. We are, unfortunately, a culture of fault-finders and that makes us often feel victimized. We complain about how commercial Christmas has become… object to the costs and the endless attempts at political correctness. We remember fondly the Christmases of yesteryear and whine, “It’s not like it used to be.”
Lake wrote the song in part because, as he described it, “Christmas was a time of family warmth and love. There was a feeling of forgiveness, acceptance. And I do believe in Father Christmas.”
So maybe we need to focus on what we believe in and then ask ourselves “What am I contributing to the season and what do I want from it?” Once we’ve wrapped our heads (and hearts) around that we can create the activities that contribute to that meaning and focus on those. What do you want for Christmas? How are you going to get it?
Christmas isn’t something that happens to us. We get the Christmas we deserve.
You can learn more about the interesting history of this tune on Wikipedia.
Here’s one of several great videos recently released… and this link to a great website called “Press Pause.” There are more short videos on the topics of dealing with anger and schedule overload. These are created by “Half of Us.” I’m impressed with both of these sites and their content/approach–easy to navigate, bite-sized chunks of practical support and advice!
The reactions to the recent tragedy in Las Vegas have certainly been varied. Thanks in a large part to the ongoing media coverage, it remains a focal point for many. It, therefore, seems fitting to share several thoughts, including this paragraph from a recent J.E.D. Foundation blog post:
At a time like this, the simple things will help – don’t hold feelings in, talk to friends, family and loved ones. Turn off the TV, computer, and phone. Get up and get out – tragedies can weigh so heavily on us that it makes it hard to move. Take a walk, go to the gym, run errands, spend time with friends, volunteer to help. And lastly, everyone should take care of themselves and those around them – physical health and emotional connectedness can go a long way toward making you feel like yourself again.
During last night’s Suicided Awareness and Prevention Workshop we discussed briefly the potential impact events like this have on children. It is so important to remember they are watching and listening and may be much more aware of news and incidents than we might think at first. If it is difficult for an adult to process the “why” of an incident like this, consider how much more so it may be for young people. This is a time when we should look out for our children.
I published a post from Edutopia (an excellent resource for teachers and parents, by the way) on Mr. Boomsma’s Facebook Page. Entitled “Responding to Tragedy: Resources for Educators and Parents.” When time permits, I will be adding many of those resources to this website.
As a general guideline, I encourage adults to listen and watch for signs that a child is struggling to come to terms with the incident. It is not necessary to “force” a child a think or talk about it, but it is important to be willing to listen and answer questions. You don’t have to have all the answers. Provide reassurance and gently shift the focus to the positives. In children’s terms, “Let’s look for the helpers.”
That’s actually pretty good advice for all of us.