What do you teach your children about Santa and Star Wars?
I thought I would take a minute to share an article I ran across about Santa Claus. As I thought about the article, I realized that some of the principles about Santa also applied to talking with your children about Star Wars and just about every other make believe story. In an article he wrote for the Washington Post, Mark Driscoll made some great points about what he and his wife teach their children about Santa.
One of the first principles in Mark’s article is that parents have to decide how they are going to address issues in our culture. He points out that Santa and similar ideas are hard to dismiss because they are so prominent. Since they can’t be dismissed, parents have to decide if they are going to demonize or redeem them. In light of the movie everyone is going to see this week, this is a pretty important idea for parents to understand. When you take your kids to see Star Wars, will you use the principles in the film to teach them about make believe stories and what they can teach us about good and evil? Or, will you let them believe it really happened “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”? Sounds silly, right? Recently, I spoke with a children’s Sunday School teacher who asked his students what they were afraid of. Their answer: ZOMBIES! Some of the children in his class actually believed that zombies are real and might one day take over the world! Seriously!
In his article Mark writes that they teach their children the truth about Santa Clause – that his story is based on the life of a real person who showed God’s love by giving gifts to people who need it. He tells them that just like children enjoy dressing up like pirates or princesses, people dress up like the person in Santa’s story to remember him and how he helped people.
As believers we all need to be careful what we teach about myths, legends, stories and make believe. Our children need to understand how to read an interpret stories that are true as well as fiction. I hope between Santa and Star Wars you will take some time to think about how you want to teach your children to understand the make believe around us.
Read all of Mark Driscoll’s article: markdriscoll.org/what-we-tell-our-kids-about-santa