Jan/Feb 2009

We go to press about two weeks before you actually receive Superintendent’s Profile in the mail. So I sit here, the day after Christmas, tired and writing this column.

I’m tired because I have two young daughters — one is seven years old, the other three months old. The older one woke up early Christmas morning, of course … 6 a.m. She still believes in Santa Claus (though one her first grade classmates already has tried to put the kibosh on that by asserting that there isn’t such a man). My wife and I explained to our daughter that her classmate, a boy, is naturally just teasing her and that he is running a very high risk of receiving nothing from the big man as a result of his spurious claim. She bought it.

And by the way, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, which is responsible for tracking any large object entering U.S. airspace, doesn’t help with the Santa credibility factor, either, though it means well. You may know that at www.noradsanta.org, one can track Santa’s progress across the globe on Christmas Eve. Every few minutes or so, a little Santa icon “moves” from one location to the next, in a logical direction. Now this part is great, especially when you can show your kids that Santa is now in Nova Scotia, which is pretty close to the Northeast United States. This is a great way to get the kids to go to sleep, more out of fear than anything else. But there’s one feature on the site that causes problems.

There are little videos of Santa traveling above chimneys and towns and what not as he makes his way around the world. These little clips are of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer quality. I’m in another room and my daughter rushes in to say, “Daddy, that’s not really Santa on this Web site because it looks like those characters on the Christmas shows.” So I say something like, “Of course it’s not real, no one can really video or take photos of Santa while he’s working because he’s so fast at delivering presents.” That’s the best I could come up with on the spot and she bought it. One more year of getting away with that beautiful white lie that we all wish were true. Wonderful moments to believe in, to be sure.

I hope all of you have had a wonderful holiday season as well and a happy and healthy New Year. God willing, we’ll all be back here again next year. P

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