when my daughters were still young i remember this…
the oldest came home with a santa colouring page. i was a bit infuriated with this. why? it seems so trivial, right?
i sat my girl down and asked her who this was. and she says, it’s santa and he’s gonna bring me presents.
i got this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. part of me was thinking, oh great. now i have to play this role as santa and put on this whole charade?
and the other part was thinking, how can the education system lie so easily to these young minds. and then i felt silly for these questions. i have the right how to raise my children. and, the education system works hand in hand with the government. i know, i know, things have changed since i was little. but still what’s with all the lies?
so i did what i thought was best. i told my daughters the truth. and since then, i’ve always spoken honestly with them. i tell you one has to be real crafty on how they share information with children. metaphors and similies are your key words here.
when i first found out that there was no santa and i wouldn’t be getting what i wanted – usually a material object and the best toy that year – i was devastated and confused. and something else began to grow in me. a commitment to learn the truth. and i also didn’t want them to feel this confusion or devastation of a present that will magically appear if you’re good enough.
this of course did not go well. i got lots of feedback from friends and family about how could i take away this right of christmas and believing in santa? i tried to explain that teaching a child the difference between needs and wants is very important on their development as a conscious human being.
everbody wants something – almost all the time. society and the media is geared towards this need to fill the emptiness inside or the lack of self-love or being incomplete. our needs for shelter, food, basic clothing, and love and compassion trump any want.
i also met many people who have also done this and celebrate the winter season in a different way. through celebrating the change of the season, feasting drums, ancestors and the spirits, recognizing the importance of hibernation (as a bear clan member this speaks to me in volumes), and also giving, being kind, practicing humility, and of course, the greatest gift of all – zaagiidiwin – love.
fifteen years later…
now i’m trying to find the balance in all this by respecting other peoples beliefs, being less judgmental, and living by example. and of course, i’ve been judged by these actions.
tonight, i am organizing a drum circle potluck feast and social where i work, a place for aboriginal women. we will feast the drums, the ancestors, and spirits. we will sing songs and celebrate this special season.
tomorrow is the winter solstice. i will be gathering with many people to recognize the sacrifices that chief teresa spence is undergoing by fasting. today is the 10th day of her fast.
i confess i do give everything to my children. i watch them and ask questions. both girls are gifted. one likes to play piano and draw. so i bought her a piano one winter solstice. it didn’t have 88 keys. so i bought her another one. she plays her piano every day. it brings her pure joy and happiness not to mention everyone under the same roof. i also give her the artistic material she needs to create. my youngest girl is a storyteller, a trickster, and an artist. i give her the time to tell me all that she needs to share me. this can take hours. so she is teaching me patience and stay in the moment so that we can share in many laughing ceremonies. and of course all the artistic materials she needs to create. somehow it all works out each and every time.
in the end, i am not perfect. to claim perfection would be foolish. i do my best, most of the time. and from what i am learning it’s about balance, following the natural laws, and being true to spirit.
ps. this winter season may you all be blessed with kindness, love, and good health. and of course lots of laughter and good times. how ever you choose to celebrate, i respect this and celebrate in the richness of human experience diversity.