Monday, October 25th, 2010
Thanks to the PBS show Caillou, my daughter, who is almost 4, knows all about Christmas–about Santa, Christmas trees, presents, and caroling. Thanks to my wife and me and some quick counter programming on our part, Adira also knows all about Hanukkah, about the candles and presents and foods. She also knows that we don’t celebrate Christmas but her babysitter does, and that Santa is pretend, for everyone and not just us.
And so it begins. Thanks a lot, Caillou. I was entirely unprepared for a DVD from the library called “Winter Wonders” featuring an otherwise bland, bald kid (whose name is not Charlie Brown) to bring Christmas into our home. In October, no less. But that’s parenting. We don’t get to choose the timing.
I am not squeamish about differences and diversity. I’m the observant Jew who studied religious pluralism at a divinity school, and who’s written about everything from Hare Krishnas to Mormons to evangelicals. The last thing I want is to bring my daughter up in a world where she thinks everyone behaves and believes as we do, or looks down on those who don’t. Well… maybe that’s the second-to-last thing I want–the very last being bringing her up in a world where she doesn’t understand, appreciate, and love our own tradition and heritage, and in which she is jealous or angry that we don’t do as others do. (more…)