Son: “Dad, I think I’m old enough to know now. Is there a Santa Claus?” Not being the world’s fastest thinker, I stalled for time.
Dad: “OK, I agree that you’re old enough. But before I tell you, I have a question for you. You see, the truth is a dangerous gift. Once you know something, you can’t un-know it. Once you know the truth about Santa Claus, you will never again understand and relate to him as you do now. So my question is: Are you sure you want to know?”
Brief pause. Son: “Yes. I want to know.”
Dad: “OK, I’ll tell you: Yes, there IS a Santa Claus.”
Son: “Really?” Dad: “Yes, really, but he’s not an old man with a beard in a red suit. That’s just what we tell kids. You see, kids are too young to understand the true nature of Santa Claus, so we explain it to them in a way that they can understand. The truth about Santa Claus is that he’s not a person at all; he’s an idea. Think of all those presents Santa gave you over the years. I actually bought those myself. I watched you open them. And did it bother me that you didn’t thank me? Of course not! In fact it gave me great pleasure. You see, Santa Claus is THE IDEA OF GIVING FOR THE SAKE OF GIVING, without thought of thanks or acknowledgement.
When I saw that woman collapse on the subway last week and called for help, I knew that she’d never know that it was me who summoned the ambulance. I was being Santa Claus when I did that.”
Dad: “So now that you know, you’re part of it. You have to be Santa Claus too now. That means you can never tell a young kid the secret, and you have to help us select Santa presents for them, and most important, you have to look for opportunities to help people. Got it?”