【陳慧珊】有一種教育,叫學習做決定 (28) 遇見聖誕老人

2016-12-30


聖誕節現時無疑是其中一個大型國際節日,但我們普天同慶之陣,忘記了聖誕節一開始並不如此受歡迎。曾經,不是每個歐美國家都喜愛聖誕節,許多教會都譴責這慶祝活動十分奢侈。於基督徒而言,當時值得慶祝的是復活節──紀念耶穌重生,而不是聖誕節。但通過英國殖民,聖誕節傳統不止存活下來,更被帶到新世界,蓬勃發展。英國傳統與盎格魯-克遜 (Anglo-Saxon,英格蘭前身) 文化交融,形成了今天的聖誕節。

重點是,聖誕節可以保留下來,而且發展急速,全因為人們需要聖誕節。世界曾經被疾病和饑餓纏繞,缺乏電力,每個冬天都饑寒交迫得令人絕望。而聖誕節就成為了寒冬中的一點光,集結了所有歡樂的東西──聖誕裝飾、聖詩、派對,由以前英國的Father Christmas到現在的聖誕老人。當人們需要一點樂事去撐過冬天的生活,一切的慶祝活動發展得飛快,為他們的未來點上一點光芒。

聖誕老人的發展更是如此,他源於真實的希臘主教聖尼古拉 (Saint Nicholas)。他是一個富有同情心又慷慨的人,常為窮人送暖。英國的Father Christmas 、俄羅斯的Father Frost和德國的Kris Kringle,世上眾多的慷慨老人形象,集結成今天的Santa Claus──穿著紅衣派禮物的聖誕老人。而小朋友的興趣更是構成聖誕節的重要一環。

毫無疑問父母總要出盡渾身解數,確保小朋友每年都會遇見聖誕老人。在這件小小童心的事件背後,藏著的其實是──希望。

遇見聖誕老人──成為

當每年平安夜,小朋友興奮地躺在牀上裝睡,等待聖誕老人的來訪;當貧窮的小孩因遇到現實中的英雄喜極而泣,不論他們是職業運動員、名人或者一般人,為小朋友送上珍貴的聖誕禮物。為希望與失望間畫下界線的是二人的相遇。小朋友需要信念,相信自己是不平凡的。

在小孩年幼時,大人會告訴他們這世上有一個老人,會為小朋友送上他們渴望已久的禮物。5歲小孩一定會為初次遇見聖誕老人而十分雀躍,因為收到禮物的關鍵一刻,證明他是一個乖孩子,值得得到他想要的禮物。

這是理想與現實的相遇,令小朋友得到動力重新振作,成為更好的人。

遇見聖誕老人──希望

很多小朋友在8歲的時候,已經開始懷疑聖誕老人只是一個傳說,而不是真實存在的。到了11歲時,他們也基本確定了。可是大部分青少年始終會在心底記掛著聖誕老人,因為他們享受這個想法──「有一個人,無論如何宦會聆聽、關心、給我帶來快樂」。

他們同時會主動去見聖誕老人,因為他們將家庭、愛和希望寄託在這位老人家身上。遇見聖誕老人為他們的生活添上愉快的節奏,像是一個火花、一道彩虹,幫助他們跨越極限,令不可能變成可能,打破終結,繼續堅持。

同一時間,父母不需急著打破小朋友的幻想。與其直接告訴小孩真相,伴隨著成長時殘酷的現實,像是欺凌、差強人意的成績,家長應該鼓勵小朋友活在純真、充滿希望的童話中,也是聖誕老人的一部分。

遇見聖誕老人令整個家庭的生活質素更上一層樓。

遇見聖誕老人──自我創造

我們每一個嘗試讓聖誕老人活在小朋友心中的人,其實很應該把這傳統承傳下去。我們要讓小朋友知道,他們選擇相信是一件好事,而且他們的信念要強大得,去將這信念傳給自己未來的小孩。

為甚麼爸爸們要想盡辦法,確保在小朋友回家前已經穿好聖誕老人裝,或者自願在小孩的學校扮聖誕老人,讓他們可以摸著他的假鬍子,訴說自己的秘密。聖誕老人是一個讓小朋友明白何為希望的好開始。

即使聖誕老人住得很遠很遠,而且大部分時間都不可能接觸到。但只要小朋友依然會為了聖誕老人再次到來,而努力學習、變得有耐心或者做任何事,聖誕老人就有他存在的價值。這個信念的力量總會令小朋友變得更好。

相信聖誕老人,並沒有甚麼邏輯或原因。它源於樂觀的思維,而且在某種意義上,故意妄想是一件好事。比起呆在原地不知如何前進,伴隨著猜疑某件事情是否存在的不確定性,我們遇見聖誕老人的一刻,就是我們自己選擇的現實。

遇見聖誕老人證明了,我們長時間的「成為」和「希望」可以不斷變成一個自我創造的命運。

所以每當我的女兒今年聖誕節問我,聖誕老人是否真的存在。我告訴她,現實中世界各地的聖誕老人的歷史,他們的慷慨和他們如何為小朋友和家庭帶來希望。

相信聖誕老人而反映出的希望,比任何季節和節日都更為重要。願在這個聖誕,希望的光芒可以啟發你,繼續推動你迎接一個無限可能的新年!

 

網上圖片

作者:陳慧珊

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【陳慧珊】有一種教育,叫學習做決定 (26) 打結、解結、拉開,三步自己找出解決方法

Decision Making is Educational

“Meeting THE Santa Claus”

With Christmas being one of the biggest international celebrations today, we forget that it did not start out as a popular festival.  Not all European and US nations took a liking to Christmas at first because some churches denounced its extravagance.  Easter, as the Christian observance to commemorate the Lord’s Resurrection, was the festival of choice, not Christmas.  However, Christmas not only survived the church but flourished, by way of English settlers bringing the tradition to the New World.  The English tradition mixed with the Anglo-Saxon tradition form what we know to be Christmas today.

The heart of the matter is, Christmas survived and flourished because people needed Christmas.  At a time when the world was stricken with disease and hunger and devoid of electricity, winter was cold, dark and depressing.  Christmas, with all the joyful aspects of this mid-winter festival — Christmas decorations, carols, partying, old English Father Christmas and later Santa Claus, developed at a time when people needed the festival to invigorate their lives and to brighten their future.

The development of Santa Claus was no exception.  It grew from a real-life Greek Christian bishop, Saint Nicholas, who was compassionate and generous, and gave gifts to the poor.  Aspects of other figures from around the word such as Father Christmas, Father Frost, and Kris Kringle blended together to form the modern-day gift-bearing Santa Claus.  And the interests of children became one of the major aspects of Christmas.

It’s no wonder that parents take great pains to make sure that throughout their child’s life-time, that their children get to meet Santa Claus once a year.  The motivation behind meeting Santa Claus is – hope.

Meeting Santa Claus — to-be

When children get so excited that they lay awake in bed on Christmas Eve awaiting the meeting of Santa Claus, when underprivileged children cry happy tears of disbelief and joy when they meet a real-life super hero in the form of a professional athlete, celebrity, or regular folk who bring them a precious Christmas gift, it is the meeting that makes the difference between hope and no-hope.  Some children need to believe that something different can happen to them.

At a young age, adults expose toddlers and primary school children to the belief that there exists a grandiose figure who bear that one special gift that they have been waiting for all year long.  A 5-year old can barely sit still at the sight of meeting Santa Claus for the first time, because it is that pivotal moment of receiving a gift from him that validates that he/she has been good, that he/she is worthy of the gift he/she is receiving. 

It is a meeting between expectation and reality.  It is that meeting that gives young children nourishment so that they can be reinvigorated to keep doing good.

Meeting Santa Claus — wish-for

Most children by the time they are 8 years old, suspect that Santa Claus is more of a myth than a reality.  By 11 they know for sure.  However, most tweens choose to keep Santa Claus close to their heart.  They relish the thought that “someone out there listens, cares, and will deliver me happiness no matter what.” 

They will also initiate the chance to meet Santa as they have attached the value of family, love, and hope to their Christmas idol.  Meeting Santa adds rhythm to their life; it’s a spark, a rainbow, which helps them cross the threshold of limit vs. enable, probable vs. possible, end vs. beyond.

At the same time, parents do not rush to reveal the reality of Santa.  Unlike telling their children truths about lessons associated with the harsh realities of growing up such as bullying and failed grades, parents continue to encourage their children to live in the fantasy of innocence and hope that is part of Santa Claus.

It is the experience of meeting Santa that adds to the quality of life for the whole family.

Meeting Santa Claus — self-created

For those of us who try to keep the spirit of Santa alive for our children, there are good reasons to pass on the tradition.  We need to show our children that their choice to believe is a good choice, and they have to believe that enough to pass on the same belief to their own children.

Why do dads make great effort to ensure that they are home to dress up as Santa on Christmas day, or volunteer at their children’s school so children can stroke his beard and have a private chat?  Santa is a safe beginning for our children to understand the value of hope. 

Even if Santa lives far, far away and is unreachable most of the year, as long as children work hard, are patient, do all the things that are necessary to keep Santa coming back, these are the values that will translate into other areas of their life.  The power of believing in Santa is generated in the committed wish that something good will happen for them out of doing what is appropriate. 

Believing in Santa is not based out of logic or reason.  It is embedded in optimism and in a sense that it’s okay to be deliberately delusional.  Rather than being paralyzed by not knowing exactly how to get there, with the uncertainty about whether something actually exists, the moment we meet Santa we know that it is a reality that we self-created by our own choice.

Meeting Santa is a validation that the long process of to-be and hope-for can become a self-created destiny, over and over again.

So when my daughter asked me this Christmas whether Santa exists, I told her the real-life versions throughout history of those generous Santas from all over the world, who had committed themselves to bringing children, and families, hope.

The hope that is reflected in believing in Santa Claus transcends all seasons and holidays.  May the light of hope that inspires you this Christmas continue to propel you with great possibilities in the New Year!

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