One Social Norm at a Time

It’s amazing how excited everyone gets about Christmas.

Carols and bad covers of said carols are played repeatedly throughout the stores. Snow-field decorations adorn every shopping strip (no matter which hemisphere you live in).

And Santa visits each mall, ready to take photos and patiently listen to heavily-considered wish lists.

Whether or not the kids want to.

Now, hey – before you go all “Scrooge!” on me, hear this. I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about Christmas. As long as there is an opportunity to celebrate with family, recount the adventures of the year, and begin preparation for world domination in the new year – call it whatever the hell you want.

But it amazes me how many people use this as a perfect time to forget any common sense they may exhibit any other month of the year.

Take Wendy Harmer (and Wendy, if you are reading this – welcome aboard). She recently wrote an article in the Hoopla about her brother’s kids looking rather uncomfortable on Santa’s lap.

Now, in this same article she mentions one particular complaint about the picture. And you know what – I agree with the complaint.

So let’s put this in to context. It’s Christmas. And some people really like having family photos of the kids sitting on Santa’s lap. And they will do anything to get that photo because it is sort of the social norm in Western Society.

Bah Humbug.

Wendy: You missed the whole point of the complaint.

Why the hell would you force young children into a situation they are obviously uncomfortable? They are not happy. Is this really a photo you want to keep?

Not all kids scream with Santa. I once worked as a photographer for Santa Photos (that’s a whole other Hell-Retell). There are some guys who are spot on with the characterisation.

But I also know from experience that there are some Santa’s out there that are down right intimidating – and yeah, I had no problem putting in a complaint about one in particular.

You know what – this whole scenario is pretty much telling your kids to suck it up, sitting on the old man’s lap because hey, it’s Santa.

It’s akin to “Suck it up. It’s Sunday school because hey, it’s a priest.”

Yep. I said it.

And I’ll say it again if asked to my face.

I don’t give a shit if it’s Santa, grandad, Padre, Rabbi, or even the sweet little old lady down the road. If my kids are screaming about the person near them, I’m going to respond by saying No to the offending individual. Even my own parent. I’m going to teach my kids how to trust themselves and build their own sense about right and wrong in those situations.

And then I am going to take them to the nearest Shinbudo Dojo and work on a few kata. That’s how they will be Evil Geniuses and not mere (and broken) minion.

I really hope that Wendy’s brother’s kids are never subjected to any type of child abuse – Hell, I really hope no kid is.

But it is a LOT easier if the kids can develop their own sense of trust and faith on this issue.

Santa photos like this are just crap. They are disrespectful to the kids, they are disrespectful to the photographer, and they are disrespectful to the original man who started the whole legend of Santa (now THERE is an evil genius… but that’s another blog for another day).

So Wendy – get off your horse. Recognise that this woman was actually trying to point out a major flaw in what too many consider a social norm. You don’t have to say sorry. But don’t do it again.

Minion Musings:

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