Category Archives: childhood innocence

"Is There A Santa Claus? You Better Believe it"

by Larry Peterson


I just though that I would make a suggestion to those highly sophisticated,  elitist, and pontificating editorialists and pundits (both print & broadcast) around the country who have been apparently blessed with much more insight and wisdom than a shmoe like me will ever have. If some seven or eight year old kid writes you a letter asking about whether or not Santa Claus is TRUE please take a moment before answering to review the answer one of your colleagues, Francis Pharcellus Church penned to eight year old, Virginia O’Hanlon, 116 years ago. It answers this very question. This editorial has become a timeless classic and is the most reprinted editorial in newspaper history. I love it and believe it. (That’s right, I BELIEVE IT, so what.  Hey, what did you expect. I did not go to Harvard.)
So, without further adieu:

Is There A Santa Claus?
From the editorial page of The New York Sun
September 21, 1897
_______________________________________________
Dear Editor—I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN, it’s so. Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon
115 W. 95th St.
_______________________________________________
Dear Virginia, your friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes Virginia, there isa Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.We should have no enjoyment except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and  picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah Virginia, in all this world, there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives! And he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten time ten thousand years from now , he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The Hijacking of Childhood Innocence

I have always believed that one of the most beautiful things we have in our lives is that magnificent intangible we call “childhood innocence”. I even have a picture of a brother and sister, holding hands and walking to kindergarten together. It is on my masthead. The caption reads, “INNOCENCE”. And God knows, inside these little people beats the purest hearts of all. The Catholic Church even teaches that a child does not even attain the age of reason until the age of seven. It is a beautiful thing.

The other day two seven year old classmates pointed pencils at each other at the Driver Elementary School in Virginia. They made funky little shooting sounds with their mouths as boys will do when they use their developing imaginations. Horror of Horrors–they were immediately suspended for two days for violating the Suffolk Public School’s weapons policy. They were lucky–it could have been ten days. Bethane Bradshaw, a school division spokeswoman, said, “We consider it intimidating and threatening. It does not have a place in the classroom.”

I do not get it. How did it ever come about where so many school administrators and teachers have taken it upon themselves to “know what is best” for our kids. When did they start telling us what to feed our kids, how much they should weigh and what they should THINK. Who the hell do they think they are? And what is it that they all gleefully hide behind that gives them validation for their actions—ZERO TOLERANCE. Yesiree, good old ZERO TOLERANCE, the greatest oxymoron ever created.

Amazingly, it is embraced by those wanting to promote their own agenda and it follows that many of them have gone into the field of education. Why? Because that field is the most fertile ground to plant their little packets of “agenda seeds”. God help us. We are allowing them to use our children as the fertilizer. The thing of it is, whatever sprouts from those seeds will not be the beautiful flower they had imagined. It will probably be a neurotic adult who has blossomed from a frightened, insecure child and who is afraid of making any common sense decisions.

It seems to me that Spokesperson Bradshaw and other puffed up elitists like her are popping up all over the American educational system. These are the ones that need to be suspended indefinitely, not innocent seven-year olds. They have no right to be allowed to traumatize little children by telling them that they are being “bad” because they are innocently using their imaginations. The main weapon they are using to frighten our young is POWER. They will say that they are simply following guidelines that are in the student handbook or it is school-board policy or it is the principal’s decision. They will say it is their job. What they will not do is take responsibility or stand up for the little victims being attacked. They are also gutless. In the hands of people like Ms. Bradshaw that weapon of power is far more damaging than  pencils being pointed at each other by two second graders.