Thursday, December 17, 2009
Some Things Endure Forever...!
You know, most of the things we have around us seem to change from day to day.
We may forget at times that our children are also affected by the hustle and bustle, by the disturbing news presented by the media, and by all the outside influences in their lives.
They may come to us with questions and concerns, but often we put them off. Often we get so wrapped up in other things, we forget to pay attention of the little ones. This isn't a new occurrence. It's been that way for generations.
Once in a while, someone somewhere does listen! Sometimes they even take the time to answer the concerns voiced by the children, treating the concerns as real in the effort to provide a little peace of mind.
This is such a case...from a long time ago!
Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
This letter, although written long ago, is a case of one person doing what he could to give comfort to a child, and to let that child hang on to some of the magic of the holidays!
We should do the same! We should help our own little ones hang onto the magic of the holidays! We should assist them in building the fond memories that will stay with them into adulthood. We should help them realize that family and home can provide a warm and joyous haven during the confusion of the season ahead.
If they have questions, answer them! If they need comfort, hug them! If they start to show stress, sit with them and share some smiles...and maybe some hot chocolate and a cookie! Include them in the planning and activities, remembering that this time of the year is very special for them!
And then, when you deem them old enough...explain to them the "reason for the season"! Help them to learn the true meaning of Christmas, so that it will continue to be very special to them, regardless of their age!
It seems to be the least we can do, don't you think?
Now, my friends, fresh coffee on the patio is called for...and there's hot chocolate and cookies for the kids as well!