How much we parents go to on Christmas to give our children a nice celebration! That’s when we’re not afraid to lie blandly to our children: Of course there is the Christ Child! And of course Corona can’t hurt the world!
When I sit in the living room in the evening during Advent, an unreal calm returns. The kids are in bed, the wild Christmas excitement is banished for a few hours. The refrigerator hums softly. The little angel on the cupboard laughs to himself, maliciously, it seems to me. The few remaining sacks on the Advent calendar hang motionless in the strings. The half-burned candles cast ghostly shadows on the wall.
The perfect Christmas world shows its grimace for a moment, the thoughts drift away.
Uncertainties, Corona debts, brutalization of values
Strange, actually, what joyful Christmas rituals we live with the boys every day, while the world just seems to be coming apart at the seams. TV discussions explain that our children live with many more uncertainties than we did when we were young. And that the bill for the billions in Corona aid will one day fall on the shoulders of our children. When it comes to the climate, it’s already five past twelve, and it’s our offspring who will pay the price. And on social media two camps insult each other in the most bizarre way, sociologists speak of a brutalization of values.
But we happily bake cookies, invite a Santa Claus and talk about the Christ Child. And discuss whether or not we can go skiing in the coming days.
Catching the Christ Child in flagrante delicto
The thoughts move on: The suggestion of the six-year-old son before going to bed amused me. This Christmas Eve, he will not go with daddy to look for the Christkindli in the neighborhood. He wants to hide behind the sofa this time to catch the Christ Child in flagranti. We explain that the Chindli will not scurry by when someone is in the room. "That gschpurt s Christchindli", we say.
At the same time, I have the feeling that our eight-year-old is beginning to doubt the Christ Child. He sees that he uses the same wrapping paper as mommy and daddy. And the colleagues at school don’t seem to be so sure anymore either. I think he simply wants to believe in the Christ Child, because Christmas is nicer that way.
Let’s say at some point: "By the way, the Christ Child does not exist!"
When is it actually time to speak plainly to the children?? I mean, referring to the Christ Child? But perhaps also on those things that go wrong in the world? Shall we simply say at some point: "You will have to pay for our failures in the matter of climate protection! The economic consequences of Corona will make your life difficult! There will be more dangerous viruses to come! And yes, by the way, the Christ Child does not exist!"?
Of course not. The children will cautiously emerge from the ideal world. And we will garnish bad news with optimism and make the landing in reality as pleasant as possible for the children. And for the time being continue to be happy about shining children’s eyes.
On the lookout behind the sofa
Anyway, at some point the boys will lie in wait behind the sofa of the world and realize that not everything is going as desired. But maybe it’s not all as bad as we thought. That the world will recover from Corona, that we’ll make the rank in the matter of climate. The Christ Child will fix it.
Ralf Streule lives in Goldach with his wife and three sons (8 years, 6 years and 1 year). "They can only jacks," says the pediatrician.