After sipping some of my cocoa, I turned to look at Ms. Claus. “I was just wondering. How can I give confidence to all the children who seem to lack it the most?” I mused.
“Santa, is that even something you can do?” Ms. Claus asked as she set down her mug of tea.
“I know,” I began. Then looking at my wife I shook my head. “I can hear the lack of confidence or fear in some children. They think they are not good enough when I talk to them. That breaks my heart.”
“I’m not sure that confidence building falls into the giving of toys or clothes,” remarked Ms. Claus.
“Did you ever lack confidence?”
Anya stared at me and chuckled. “Lots of times Santa. I think it’s normal to doubt yourself when starting something new. Remember when you asked me to supervise the mail room?”
“I do. There was just not enough time to keep up with the increase in mail.”
“Well, at first, I was nervous. ‘You can do this. You’re one of the most organized people I know,’ you kept saying. Your confidence in me felt good. That’s when I looked for an assistant.”
“Sophia was a great choice.”
“Yes, she was. Together we developed a plan and made the elves part of the mailroom team. All of us shared our ideas and worries, and that improved the mailroom. Confidence grows when you not only believe in yourself but in the staff around you.”
“Hmm. That’s a great point,” I said as I wrote a quick note in my book.
“Check with some of your elves and see what they have to say about confidence. Maybe they…”
Before Anya could finish, I was out the door on my way to see Bernard.
Sitting at his desk, my head elf was going over production reports when I arrived. “Morning Santa. Have a seat. What can I do for you today?”
“I’m trying to find a way to help children who lack confidence,” I explained and sat by his desk. “I wondered if you ever had that problem?”
Bernard rubbed his chin as he thought. “Well … I remember when you asked me to be your head elf. I was not sure I could handle it.”
“You sure fooled me,” I laughed. “You’ve been great from the beginning.”
“I knew I could make toys,” Bernard explained, “but managing all the elves and workshops was scary. When you kept telling me how proud you were of me, I was inspired. That built up my confidence!”
“This has been very helpful,” I replied and again made notes in my book.
Thanking Bernard, I headed to the toy-making complex. My elf in charge of research and development, Fizzlepop, was working on a new toy. “Nice work,” I remarked looking over his shoulder, but how did you gain the confidence to do that?”
“That’s easy, Santa.” Turning to face me, he giggled. “Remember that first toy I designed and created?”
“HO! HO! HO!” I roared. “Of course! It blew up in front of us sending feathers and stuffing everywhere.”
Fizzlepop blushed. “Instead of yelling, you told me that I couldn’t get everything right all the time. ‘It’s just not elfin,’ you said. By encouraging me to learn from my mistakes, I did things better in the future. I’ve been following your advice ever since that day.”
“Interesting!” I stroked my beard and then described Fizzlepop’s experience in my notebook. “Thanks,” I said and hurried toward the kitchen.
Greeted by the aroma of baking cookies, I headed to the table where Doheny was rolling out dough. “You’re a bit early Santa,” she said laughing. “The first batch will not be finished for several minutes.”
I pulled up a stool to sit. “That’s good to know, but I really came by to ask you something.”
“You didn’t come in for a fresh cookie?”
“No,” I chuckled, “but I will accept one. Now tell me, how did you get to be such a good baker?”
“You know you don’t have to flatter me to get more than one cookie.” She giggled and set her rolling pin on the table. “You know my skills for baking are all due to you.”
“ME!?” I exclaimed. “Is it because I eat more of your cookies than anyone else?”
Doheny howled. “No, that’s not it,” she explained and wiped the flour from her hands. “Do you recall when I first started working in the kitchen?”
“I do. Blanch had you making soups, and as I remember, you weren’t very good at it.”
“I was horrible. I didn’t even eat what I made. You encouraged me to try different things, so I did. When I discovered my passion for baking, I finally gained the confidence to do my best.”
As I jotted some notes, Doheny took out the pan of cookies from the oven and slid two in front of me. “Thanks.” I put my notebook in my pocket, and grabbed the cookies. “They smell wonderful.”
“I know your weakness for cookies, Santa.” Doheny grinned as she shooed me out of her kitchen.
Returning to our living quarters, I read my notes and listed four ideas I thought would work.
Entering the living room, I found Ms. Claus reading and drinking tea in front of the fireplace. “I think I have a plan to encourage children to be confident,” I announced and took a seat beside her.
Setting her book aside, Anya clapped her hands and smiled. “That’s great, Santa. Let’s hear it.”
“The elves had plenty to say,” I remarked taking a seat next to my wife. “Though it’s common not to believe in yourself, it’s more challenging to build self-confidence. Here’s my plan.”
“I will remind boys and girls of something they did that made me proud.
I will encourage them to ask for and accept help from others.
I will tell them it’s okay to fail as long as they learn from their mistakes.
I will urge all children to find what makes them passionate which I believe can lead to self-assurance.”
“Way to go, Santa.” Anya reached over and squeezed my hand. “If you can accomplish some of these things and get the parents, guardians, and teachers to do the same, lots of children will feel the effects.”
“Couldn’t agree more,” I said and pulled out my two cookies. Sliding one Anya’s way, I smiled. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if gaining self-assurance could be as easy as nibbling a cookie.”
Anya hooted. “You’re something Mr. Claus. Cookies may not be confidence boosters, but they certainly make you happy.”
Notes From Santa
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. Stories are posted on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, except December. My next story will post on Saturday February 18, 2023. If you have any comments or if there is something you would like me to tell you about, please feel free to leave me a comment. Until the next time . . .
To read more stories about Santa & Children, please check out:
Just Part of the Family – August 26, 2019
Santa’s Waterpark Adventure – September 9, 2019
Toys for Santa – December 9, 2019
Discussions At the Lego Table – December 15, 2019
The Art of Gift Giving – January 13, 2020
The White Feather – May 18, 2020
Patience – June 15, 2020
The Real Santa – August 17, 2020
The Key to Kindness – November 2, 2020
Changing Times – May 10, 2021
Random Acts of Kindness – September 20, 2021
Letter From Santa – January1, 2022
Impossible Gifts – June 1, 2022
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Illustration from Susan Spritz Myers