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The Value of St. Nick
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THE VALUES OF ST. NICK

© 2011, Joyce A. Kovelman, Ph.D.,Ph.D.

 

He is charismatic and full of charm. His eyes glimmer and his tummy shakes like a bowl full of jelly. He has a deep voice which often crackles and sparkles with a cheery "Ho, Ho, Ho."And yes, he is a double for St. Nick. He even acts like Santa Claus, giving toys and trinkets to children, family and friends wherever he goes. One can see that he is a great fan of the American Give Away. No wonder he is so adored and beloved.

 

With eyes wide and joy written all over their faces, children of all ages flock to St. Nick. They simply cannot believe their great fortune in meeting this Fairy Prince. They can't resist telling Santa about all the merchandise they have been dreaming about and would like to see when they awaken on Christmas Day. "Please, oh please Santa, I've been a good little boy or girl. I really deserve all these goodies." Santas miles. He pats them on their heads and promises them all their hearts' desire.

And as he grows older, younger women seem less bashful about approaching "Santa" with their own needs, wishes and yearnings. Never mind that Mrs. Claus is standing by. She can easily be ignored while they flatter good old St. Nick. Mrs. Claus had best not interrupt their fun and games. St. Nick is no longer just for good little boys and girls!

 

Lately, Santa has become the center of attention and adoration at parties, restaurants, shopping malls and schools. He really does get about. He loves the crowds of admirers, and they love him. But is this what the American Dream is all about … the pursuit of happiness, pleasure, shopping, and toys … all promising our children contentment and success? It seems that our once benign, loveable St. Nick is now a symbol for conspicuous consumption and greed. No wonder children big and small go to sleep with sugar plums dancing on their heads, and awaken the next morning with large smiles on their faces. They know exactly what they will find under the Christmas Tree or Chanukah Bush the next morning. Didn't they send their special requests to Santa and didn't he say, "Yes?" No more mystery. Just place your order and Santa will deliver. It's guaranteed or your money back!

 

Something has tarnished this beautiful tale of mirth and glee. It no longer speaks of being good for goodness sake, but rather proclaims the importance of buying and consuming and supporting the GNP and our economy. Our children no longer wonder, they know.

 

And I wonder about another Christmas story; a story that has captivated humanity's heart and imagination for over 2,000 years; a story that teaches them about courage, truth, love, redemption and resurrection. Which story will our children learn? Will we teach our children that happiness and joy come from the inside, and only by doing what we know in our hearts is right and good? Are we willing to teach them that a new toy or another version of Play Station or something that comes in a can or a box can never make them feel good about themselves? Are we willing to speak to our children of values, ethics, morality, goodness and heartfelt compassion for all peoples, whether young or old, rich or poor, ill or well, and whether black, red, yellow, brown or white? I vote for giving our children the real St. Nick, along with the mystery, purpose and fullness of childhood. Let's once again bestow innocence and joy upon our children and our children's children, and encourage them to play, to enjoy, to create and to grow up loving, rather than SIMPLY buying and consuming.

 

 
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