It’s Not Santa…But the Children Who Are Watching Us!


Dear Reader:

Jake will turn three months on Christmas Eve and he is, not only waiting on Santa and his (sorta) birthday, but he is watching too. I love to sneak into Jake’s room and observe him staring at the mobile of sea animals…as they fly and turn around him. He coo’s and talks to them like a miniature Dr. Dolittle.

But the best part, of course, is watching him watching me. He is putting voices and faces together now in recognition and as soon as the two connect…a big smile spreads across his face.

This is the beginning of a lifetime of observation from one generation to the next…and the next.

I love this quote from a grown son (Clarence B. Kelland) remembering his father:

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.” 


In the popular Christmas song “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town”…one stanza reads: “He know when you’ve been sleeping, He know when you’re awake, He know when you’ve been good or be good for Goodness Sake”!

I think this song must have been written for adults (or should have)…for all us ‘Santas’ out there…because it is we, ourselves, who had “better watch out.”

Our children are observing how we handle Christmas, with all the busyness, stress, and fluster. If they observe periodic “melt-downs” from us…the chances are pretty good…as adults…they will imitate our behavior. (Not a pleasant thought)

In fact…the best Christmas gift we can give those who are watching us as potential role models…is to live our lives as we would want them to do.

I will never forget when our much beloved “Dee Dee” died…Sam Clark said he was nervous about visiting Poppy…he and Dee Dee had been married way over fifty years and did so much together. Sam couldn’t imagine that kind of loss. He expected to see a broken man.

Instead…to his surprise…he saw a man, dressed in his nicest clothes, greeting everyone with hugs and pats on the back…as if he was trying to console them.

I, too, remember thinking that day …that it was Poppy’s finest hour. I watched my semi- grown children watching Poppy in amazement also. He showed them that day how to handle a personal crisis of extreme magnitude with dignity and courtesy.

Yesterday, Linda Carson, reflected in a Christmas Advent Devotional (that our church offers members during the Christmas season) on this same topic in regard to her father. It really touched me and I would like to share excerpts from it for you.

She titled the devotional: “A Father’s Love” (which it certainly is)….but for the blog…I think I will simple re-call it….”The Blue Light” (since it is Linda who had the “Holiday Monster” bad  Christmas bulb  that tried to spoil her holidays.)


My first memory of Christmas happened at about age 4 or 5.  My father and I were in the living room in the dark with only the tree lights on which were all blue.  We had a huge picture window and the moon was reflecting brightly on the new snow that had fallen that evening.  It was a beautiful sight to see even at that young age.

It wasn’t until Linda was in high school that she discovered that her mother (who died when Linda was four) passed away on Christmas Day.

Her father never talked about it or the difficulty of raising three little girls by himself right after their mother’s death. It would have been so easy for him to succumb to depression or cynicism about Christmas but he didn’t do that…

Instead Linda has only happy childhood recollections of Christmases growing up. Her extended family, grandparents included, made sure they had all the extra “trimmings” that lock in happy memories (baking cookies, lots of Christmas surprises, etc.) throughout the years.

Linda concludes her thoughts about this amazing man she called father and the strength he showed during those dark days…by making this analogy:

Just as the Lord loves His children, my father loved his family.  So, when I see a blue Christmas light, I am reminded of my father’s love and the love God has for us by sending us Jesus.  May you each feel the joy and love of this holiday season and be reminded of that each time you see Christmas lights.  Merry Christmas to everyone.

So until tomorrow…Help us remember that “Your children will become who you are: so be who you want them to be.” -David Bly

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* Yesterday really was a favorite day since Mike, Honey, and I got to be with the wonderful folks of the Summerville Chapter (MS). Liz Peterson, former high school teacher, is President and this annual Christmas celebration/luncheon is elaborately planned and just plain beautiful. It is obvious that a lot of work has gone into it.

Here are some photos from the day:

photo 3 (45)photo 4 (39)

Honey and Mike donate their pottery and woodwork so everyone leaves with a Christmas present from this table. Mike and Honey are just amazing!

Before I told my story Liz Peterson presented Mike, Honey, and myself with coasters … made just for us. Mike and Honey’s were of Azalea Park…and (I couldn’t believe it) my set had four pictures of St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope!!!

photo 2 (76)

Thank you Liz and Andrea for the invitation to come share some storytelling with your inspiring group of men and women!

photo 1 (78)photo 3 (46)

Mike’s early Christmas present now has a name “Coco”…because of her chocolate coating. She was dressed in a new sweater when I arrived….adorable!

photo 2 (73)photo 1 (79) To the Hap-Happiest Family Around!  Merry Christmas!

* And speaking of chocolate (I know this is cruel) but look what we had for dessert yesterday!

photo 2 (74)

* Don’t Forget to Come Check out all the vendors and sales going on at Baker’s Pond Nursery! I start telling this year’s story at 10:30…love to see you if you can spare a few minutes tomorrow!

* Jo Dufford has such a quick wit and ear for rhyme…she added this comment for my garden of “comfort and joy.”

Becky, Becky, how does your garden grow? With snow man chimes and angel wings and pretty wreaths with a bow. Your garden looks festive. Love Anne’s picture of the Palmetto Rose Cross. She is so talented. I guess “Birds of a feather do flock together”?

Hope you are enjoying all the Christmas decorations and lights around you. By the way, don’t we live in the prettiest (oops,I was going to say little) town ever, especially at Christmas time?


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to It’s Not Santa…But the Children Who Are Watching Us!

  1. Johnny Johnson says:

    Merry Christmas Mrs. Dingle!


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