The way you can measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Issue No. 50 – 6th December 2007
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Is there a Santa Claus?
At this time of year as you gear up for Christmas, there will be the doubting Thomases in your schools or centres who would dare to suggest that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, that it’s just your Dad or some fat old geezer dressed up and pretending. No Santa Claus? Bah! Humbug! He does exist ‘ at Rovaniemi, on the edge of the Arctic Circle in Lapland. This is where all the Christmas mail to Santa gets sent and will be answered by him in person (well, maybe his elves at the Post Office help). I have been there and I highly recommend that you visit if you ever get the chance. In Santa Village it is Christmas 365 days a year ‘ a truly magical place as you can imagine. I went there last year in the middle of summer ‘ not quite the same atmosphere but coming from Australia I didn’t mind.
The most beautiful response to the question ‘Is there a Santa Claus?’ comes from the now famous essay by Sun newspaper columnist Francis P. Church in 1897. I came across it in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance, A Day Book of Comfort and Joy. Francis P. Church wrote this essay in response to a little girl, Virginia O’Hanlon, aged eight, who asked this perennial question. I reproduce it here as quoted in Simple Abundance.
“Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical 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 [grown-ups’] or children’s are little.
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! ‘ The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor [grown-ups] can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there.
You 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 [grown-up] ‘ that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view ‘ the beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else so 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.”
May you survive end of term concerts, graduations, parties and festivities. Until next year, Merry Christmas.
Quotes of the Week
Nobody can conceive or imagine the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. Francis P. Church
One hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in my bank account, or what my clothes looked like. But one hundred years from now, the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child. Anonymous
Never Argue With a Child
A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew. She would occasionally walk around to see each child’s work. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, ‘I’m drawing God.’ The teacher paused and said, ‘But no-one knows what God looks like.’ Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, ‘They will in a minute.’
‘It was really great. I enjoyed the relaxation.’ Nick Palmer – DADAA
I would just like to say, I thoroughly enjoy your articles. The work is very inspirational, and certainly the quote that you use as part of your logo by Nelson Mandela is also very positive. Congratulations! Keep up the great work. Pamela Rallis, Strathfield, NSW
About The Author
Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA
Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.
PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892, Australia
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Until next time – continue being a legend in your classroom.
Marlene Rattigan, Editor
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