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Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (but can we afford him?)
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Thursday, December 09, 2010

This time of year boy I don't know about you but I want to be Santa Claus. Oh I don't want to dress up. I just want to make sure everyone has a good Christmas. I want to give to family. I want to reach out and make sure that it's all good. I'm sort of like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation except for I don't have the obsession to put up all those lights and I have no delusions that I'm getting a Christmas Bonus. Come to think of it- I'm really different than Chevy Chase but for a minute there I couldn't see it.  The similarity I guess is the Don Quixote-like search for the perfect Christmas.

If you're like me, you want to find out what everyone wants and make sure they get some of that. You know what? That's exactly probably NOT what our teens in trouble need at Christmas time. That's what we want. That's what they want us to do too. But it's not what either one of us really needs. You know what our active addicts need? Hit "read more" for my take on what our drug obsessed teenagers need...

They need visited by the Ghosts of Christmas! Preferably, they should be visited by one of their dead friends who got shot or overdosed and he would warn them that they would be visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. And if the spirits do it all in one night so much the better. When the spirits are finished I don't want our teenagers to go out the next morning and buy Christmas presents for everyone- I want them to get serious about their drug problem!

I want the Ghost of Christmas Past to show our teens how they were at 8, 10, or even 12 years old when they were so happy and decided not to smoke, drink, or do drugs. Then I want the Ghost of Christmas Present to show them how much pain they are putting people though right now.  I want the Ghost of Christmas Present to show how much they are missing out on family and good drug-free friendships.   

Then, I want the Ghost of Christmas Future to show our teenagers that they will end up in jails, institutions and early death.

Of course if the spirits did visit our kids and our kids woke up in the middle of the night and came downstairs all upset, most of us would try to make it all better. We would try to talk to our kid until he felt better. We would give him some chocolate.  We would go up to his room and sit with him until he fell asleep. 

 In short: we would do everything we could to see that those nasty ghosts left our teenager ALONE! And we would be interfering with the very thing that our teenager needed. The next morning we would shower our teen with gifts as if to say, "Oh don't worry, every things just fine, business as usual, you haven't done anything so terrible that we would put you on the naughty list!!!! What do you want for Christmas? A car? An  X-box 360? How about we send you to college, would that make you happy?  But in fact we are sadly trying to make ourselves happy because there is a voice inside of us crying out, "Wait wait wait he IS (or should be) on the Naughty List. What are we teaching him???"

The problem is we just HAVE to be Santa Claus. Not just at Christmas but all year round.  It's just a little worse at Christmas.  

As I said, I want to be Santa too. I don't want to be the one that says, "Ah, sorry son, but I'm not comfortable playing Santa with you this year, and besides you'd might sell that game system or throw that college education away if I gave it to you now. Let's hold off on the gifts and see what you can do to make some big changes in your life.  Let's ask the spirits to visit you tonight son. You won't get much sleep, but it'll be the most valuable lost sleep that you ever had."

We know that spirits don't actually visit people. They never did. That was just some guy making stuff up. But it's interesting to us because life does send serious messages to people. Not spirits perhaps, but we are sent real important messages. They are usually in the form of consequences. All to often, we parents are busy trying so hard to help our kids avoid those consequences. We might as well be sitting up with them trying to keep the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future away. Then, after we've paid their fines, given excuses for their absences, fought to make sure that no one ever treats them the least bit unfairly, paid for attorneys, and generally made their life as smooth as we can, we decide to have a chat with them where we explain that they better straighten up and fly right. Oh, but they don't listen to us do they?  And why should they? They haven't straightened up and flown right in quite a while and they still never made the Naughty List!

This Christmas, if we see Christmas Ghosts or other serious messages coming for our teenagers, lets' get out of the way and let the spirits do their work.  I just wish they could do it all in one night...

Meanwhile, if our teenagers are still struggling, let's give Santa a little time off for the holidays.


Anonymous said...

Well this blew me away!! I never really looked at my situation in quite this way. I didn't think sending my daughter off to cosmetology school was a bad thing and don't we sometimes have a window of opportunity that could slam shut to her future? I would like to hear more about this, and I think I better schedule a family meeting! I wonder what would happen when the Christmas Ghosts visit the Probation Officers? CS

Lloyd Woodward said...

I see I touched a nerve. It's controversial I agree. If a teen is still using drugs the higher education might not be the answer.

Maybe in your situation it is different. Or maybe I'm missing the boat but I see situations where people seem to hope that the opportunity of higher education will help to solve the drug problem and in my experience it does not. I'm sure that even if I'm right, there could be an exception that proves the rule. If on the other hand the teen has a good foundation in recovery before they are sent, then that's a different story.

I'm not against higher education; I think timing is important.

If the Christmas Ghosts ever get to me I might be in big trouble indeed! Thanks for sharing your opinion.


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