A few years back we bought the infamous “Elf on the Shelf” after hearing from many of our friends how wonderful the Christmas season became once their particular Elf made their annual visit to lord over and terrorize their children each year. If you’ve seen Toy Story 3, you know that Sunnyside Daycare is looked over by a mechanical monkey who sees all and rats out any trouble makers. Toy Phone tells Woody that if he wants out, he needs to “Get rid of that MONKEY!”Your Elf is much like that.
Depending on how bad your kid(s) have been, the narc Elf will hurry back to the North Pole and rat out your progeny each and every night to the Big Guy himself. While this isn’t the Godfather saga, and severed reindeer heads are hard to come by this time of year, this kind of intimidation sometimes works and the gullible children fall under the magical spell of this parental ploy. A few years back, our Elf (Krewfie) went missing. Apparently narcs are the first ones to get knocked off on the street because after the Christmas of 09, Krewfie was nowhere to be seen. Not even a note or a tiny severed elf finger as a warning. While we scrambled for a replacement and a good story to tell Anna, the Elf at daycare went up and the behavior became a bit better at home. But like clockwork, sometime in early December, Anna cracks under the pressure and her behavior goes to 11 on the naughty scale. After a few rather big incidents at school, we decided that Krewfie needed a holiday up north, so Anna could take a breather and get her 6 year old shit together. I was seriously ready to start looking at boarding schools in Eastern Bloc countries run by former Nazis. While Krewfie hung out with the Palins, the change in her and Eli’s behavior was amazing. Suddenly they were happy, the behavior, although not perfect, was much improved over the previous week. After a run of goodness, Krewfie came back with a note… basically catching Anna being good. She has been stellar. She has been a delight.
And then it hit me, I wonder how much different my youth would have been if I had not gone to church and had the “IT’S A SIN!” shoved at me every time the idea of me being gay came up. I remember feeling much angst and internalized hatred for myself and for the other gays I knew. I also remember acting out, and not knowing why I was doing it. I wasn’t sure where it came from, but I know that the bible and my church certainly had a hand in it. So now that I am no longer affiliated with a church and consider the bible a great work of fiction, my life has settled down as well. I no longer feel unworthy (Thanks United Methodists!) and I no longer feel like a second class citizen or a bigger sinner than my neighbor. My own Krewfie has flown back north, never to reappear. My own internal compass of what is right and what is just is guiding me and that’s enough for me. I will rely on my Judeo-Christian upbringing to help frame it, but when it comes to absolutes about what is right and what is wrong, I will defer to secular law and my heart. For too long, I have had that Protestant Krewfie hanging over my shoulder snitching on me and telling the Big Guy that my sin is much worse (AN ABONIMATION!) than any others.
My hope is to wean Anna off of church because I know this fire and brimstone stuff is coming. They have already discussed the Ten Commandments in Sunday school and Anna seemed a bit perplexed about all the “do this, don’t do that” business. I am a bit confused as to why they are teaching this as adultery is a pretty big concept for 6 year olds to wrap their heads around. We have been told that she “needs” to go to church, but after much soul searching and discussion, we have found that we “need” to find out our own way of teaching her about what is right and what is wrong. We don’t need fables from a mistranslated book telling us what to do; we have our own Krewfies to help us with that. We have great stories from the library that showcase how to be a good person and do what’s right. We have DVDs of Disney classics from years past that show how character and honesty can make the situation right (with some snazzy music too!) So maybe Sunday mornings will be hang out and read or watch a DVD time. C
Certainly much less guilt and, as a bonus, we can do it in our pajamas.