By Donna Shea & Nadine Briggs
This is a re-posting from a blog we wrote last December.
Tis the season, and for those families who celebrate Christmas, there is the expectation for kids to be good all year. If not, the presents due to arrive under the Christmas tree might be jeopardy. Yikes! We will confess that there is no way, even as adults, that we can or will be “good” all year. We’re not even sure what being “good all year” even means. Let’s just put us on the naughty list now, since we most certainly deserve it.
We both admit to having seriously not nice thoughts while shopping in the grocery store. Nadine sometimes avoids taking the dog out and makes her husband do it, especially when it’s cold. She gets angry when her teenage son won’t get out of bed for school. Donna gets cranky and impatient when she is tired or overwhelmed. Sometimes she’s just cranky and impatient for no reason at all.
Does your child know what being good means for them? In a frustrated moment, most of us have told our kids that they “better watch out!” The holidays are a magical time regardless of which religious traditions you celebrate. Having to “be good” for a whole year is a really huge and impossible expectation. Maybe we should change the wording a bit or at the very least define what we mean. How about:
Did you try to be as kind as you could and use your manners with people this year?
Did you sincerely apologize when you made mistakes?
Did you try to be as honest as possible?
Did you offer to help others who needed you?
Were you as loving as you are capable of being?
For kids who are literal thinkers, how about we help them to understand that Santa just wants you to do your best. He doesn’t require perfectionism and he is very forgiving if you mess up and do something “naughty.” Let kids know that even Santa makes mistakes, as do adults. Christmas is a time to remember that no matter what we do or who we are, doing our best will always be enough.