Chiefsmas Eve: A child in my life


I’ve been writing for Arrowhead Addict for nearly five years now so, if it’s alright with you, I’d like to relate a personal story.

I was once the director of a school called Santa Fe Preschool located in Kansas City, Missouri. Each year we would have our traditional Christmas program on a weekday evening. It was held in the sanctuary of a large

church which had a magnificently majestic wooden vaulted ceiling. The school was located there, in the basement.

In the beginning, we had our program during the daytime and consequently only a few parents could attend. As it grew, the pageant was moved to the evening hours and over the years we would need to unlock the huge sliding doors at the back of the sanctuary that opened up into a gymnasium… to accommodate the many people who wished to attend. Attendance grew and grew so that we eventually had more than 500 parents, grandparents, neighbors and congregants.

The part of the program, which I will never forget, came near the end… and then after that Santa would appear of course.

However, it was the moment right before Santa came out… that was such a special moment for the kids… and everyone in attendance. Over the years, I attempted to stretch that moment out… and it ended up becoming something more than I can truly explain here, but I shall try.

When each class was done singing a Christmas carol and the kids were told it was time for Santa to appear… we turned out all the lights in the church except for a few candles. The children had been asked to bring a flashlight to the program and it was announced that Santa Claus would know we were ready for him to come and visit us… by shining our flashlights up on the ceiling of the sanctuary… quietly.

500 plus people… kids, parents, grandparents, teachers and friends… waited in perfect silence… with flashlights being waved at the wooden rafters, and I would whisper into a microphone… if you listen quietly you might be able to hear Santa’s reindeer landing on the roof.

We allowed several silent minutes to pass… but I will remember those hushed minutes forever. Hopeful anticipation in a young child’s eyes, is beyond description. Watching their loved ones… watch them… is a privilege I wish every soul could experience especially because our school was multi-ethnic and this world needs the acceptance that united all who were in that room at that moment.

After a few minutes passed by… I arranged for someone outside to throw a handful of rocks on top of the church. The thud of those stones tumbling off the roof made a startling sound… one which could easily be mistaken for the thumping of reindeer hooves.

The shocked and amazed look on those kid’s faces was worth more than paychecks and the gaze on the faces of the parents and grandparents as they watched the reaction of their own progeny… was so very personal… and humbling to witness. It was like being given a private peak inside of the heart of what holds this world together.

For a few moments in time… I could see and feel the strength of a child’s belief… in something unseen… in something so good… so trusting… and so eager to believe. Then, seeing through their parents eyes was an unexpected extra I had not anticipated.

Another minute passed and when the kids heard the clanging of Santa’s huge bell resounding down the hallway their thrill was uncontainable.

Santa burst in and blurted out,

“M e r r y   C h r i s t m a s.”

The children cheered and screamed, jumped up and down and ran up to grab him and it didn’t matter to them at all that Santa had only brought apples and oranges… because they had come from Santa Claus himself!

I’ll never forget those moments. In some ways I think that experience is the reason I’ve continued to pursue a career in education for nearly four decades. Little kids are so real in their responses and they believe so completely in their own perceptions that they refresh my own faith in humanity on a daily basis.

Love, which so often seems to be complex in its definition and function for us adults… is unfettered for a child. My confession here is that I’m envious and am wishing I could be the way kid’s so easily are. I’ll always believe that children are like angels… and that each one is a gift to humankind. In any case, I continue to be blessed and gifted by the presence of a child in my life.

If you can, share this game you love with a child. The world will be better for it… and so will you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday’s Addict fans.

Go Chiefs!