The Real Meaning of Christmas | The TV Patrol | Visitation for the Boyfriend?


The Real Meaning of Christmas

Dear Micah,

Every time I turn around my kids are adding more stuff to their Christmas list.  They don’t seem to get what the real meaning of the holiday is about.  I agree with Charlie Brown that the day is too commercialized.  It wasn’t like this when I was a kid.  I also think its lost all of the religious meaning.  Give me some ideas on how to make my boys understand what Christmas is really all about.

Putting the Christ Back in Christmas

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Dear PTCBIC,

I understand your desire to restore Christmas to what it was in the splendor of your youth, but let me school you on some things first–it already is.  You may not remember it, but I’d bet that in your youth, you also had quite a hefty wish list for Santa.  Christmas has been commercialized since the covered wagon days, if not before.  No person currently alive grew up in a time when it wasn’t.

Since Christmas is the designated day when all Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, the commercialization of it can be offensive to some people.  However the only real way for you to de-commercialize it and restore the holiday to one of complete holiness would be for you to stop buying gifts.  Now, you go tell your kids that they aren’t getting anything for Christmas and see how well that works out for you.  I foresee a really nasty nursing home in your future.

No one actually wants to take the commercialism out of Christmas, not when you really think about it.  Part of the excitement and joy of the holiday is seeing the decorations up in the stores, hearing the music on the radio, seeing the little Hershey Kisses acting like bells when they clank out We Wish You a Merry Christmas in the TV commercial.  The “Christmas” we have come to love and expect wouldn’t be Christmas without the commercialism.  Hell, wasn’t our current perception of Santa Claus created by Coca-Cola?

Christmas is more than just Jesus, three wise men and a manger.  It may sound blasphemous to some, but Christmas is bigger than even that.  Holiday celebrations around the time of December 25th predate Jesus by around 2000 years.  Norsemen would haul a yule log down from the mountains to burn and hold a big feast.  The Romans had something called Saturnalia (which I think pretty much meant that poor people got to barge into the homes of rich people and have the rich wait on them for a change).

Christmastime has always been a time of merry-making, tacky decorations, and celebration.  It isn’t just a Christian holiday, which is why many non-Christian faiths also celebrate Christmas.  So stop worrying about how commercialized or unholy Christmas has become and just enjoy it.  It has always been like this and always will be like this, and there will always be people like you who have imagined that it was somehow different in the past.  Let it go and enjoy the message of Christmas that is universal to all.  Love one another.  Enjoy and appreciate one another.  And save the receipts.

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The TV Patrol

Dear Ask Micah,

We have a strict policy on what my son is and isn’t allowed to watch on TV.  Our problem is that we seem to be the only parents in our neighborhood that cares about what children should and shouldn’t be viewing.  Our son’s friends’ parents don’t seem to care as much as we do about what is seen and heard.    Their televisions are often tuned to things that are inappropriate for their children.  Our son isn’t allowed to watch TV at their homes, but that doesn’t stop his exposure to inappropriate situations because these other kids talk about what they’ve seen on TV.   Short of forcing him to stay inside of our home at all times and away from these kids, I am at a loss as to how to combat this.  Any ideas?

Kellan

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Dear Kellan,

Too many parents pay no attention to what’s going on in their kids’ lives and offer no structure or guidelines, so kudos to you for being such involved and concerned parents.  While I applaud your activism in parenting, I also want to caution you from making hasty proclamations on your neighbors.  How do you know that they haven’t put in the same amount of thought and planning into what their kids are watching as you have put into what your son is not watching?

Let me explain.  I doubt that these kids are allowed to watch porn over at these other houses, so the material you are concerned with is most likely material that has strong language and perhaps some kinds of adult situations.  I can understand your desire to shield your son from these things if you feel he is too young to comprehend them.  However, you must also respect other parents’ decisions to expose their children to more adult situations as a tool to teach them.

I know that I would much prefer my son to watch something with adult themes in my home so that I can use that show or movie as an opening to a conversation.  Let me give you an example:  I know a person who got all up in arms a couple of years ago because the TV show Glee had a pregnant teen character.  This parent stopped letting her children watch the show and she went on a tirade about it to anyone who’d listen.  She had that right.  The show was depicting a subject matter which she felt was inappropriate for her children to view.

However, I personally saw the whole thing as a missed opportunity.  She could have used the show to begin a much needed discussion with her children about teen pregnancy and the dangers of having sex before you are fully capable of handling its possible outcomes.  If my son were older, I’d be searching out programming like that for us to watch together in the hopes that he’d ask questions or allow me to initiate talks so that I could be assured that he was getting all of his information on such weighty subjects from me.

So before you judge these other parents for what you perceive to be neglectful parenting, perhaps they are deliberate in their lack of censorship.  Maybe they want their kids to ask questions.  Maybe they want to be the ones who provide the answers.  If that is the case, then you shouldn’t judge them.  They are parenting their children in the same proactive way that you are–they just are taking an opposite position. And now their children are armed with the facts about certain situations you’d rather not expose your son to yet.  There is nothing wrong with that.  As his parent you get to decide what and when he should know certain things, but you can’t fault these other kids from talking about the new things they have discovered.  So you really answered your own question–short of making your son stay away from these other kids, there is nothing that you can do.

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Visitation for the Boyfriend?

Dear Micah,

I recently broke up with my girlfriend of four years.  It wasn’t a bad break up but it’s a little uncomfortable to be around her.  Here’s the situation.  I have a close relationship with her little girl.  I have always liked her and for a time I was like her father figure.  I want to still take her places and do things with her so that she isn’t hurt by our break-up.  Do you think that’s a good idea and what’s the best way to approach this with my ex-girlfriend?

G.F.

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Dear G.F.

Hell no!  This is not appropriate at all.  Firstly, you have just dumped poor Mom, but you still want to continue to see the daughter.  At the worst, it’s weird.  At the best, Mom’s never going to move on with you popping by to take little Cindy to the park every weekend.  It is sweet that you were a father figure to this girl, but you are not her father.  If you had wanted to be her father, then you should have married her mother.

It’s now time for this girl to un-bond with you so that she can someday connect to the future man that will be in her mother’s life permanently.  He shouldn’t have to contend with a little girl’s confusing affections for Mom’s ex-boyfriend.  That’s a whole Dr. Phil show waiting to happen.  You sound like a nice guy.  Do the right thing and let this little family heal and move on.

If you have a question you’d like to ask Micah, you can email him at MicahCargo@hotmail.com.  Your question may be used for a future article either online or print.

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