Santa has been working with us for the past 19 Christmases. With our eldest daughter (Amie) we took on a role called: ‘the best parents who ever lived’. Included in the job description was the task of sprinkling flour on the fireplace and placing a ‘boot mark’ in this to show Santa’s footprint. One year, through the power of positive suggestion, Amie put her hand on the flour and declared “it’s freezing”.
Cillian, our 2nd, wanted to place a trip wire at the end of the Chimney. When Santa fell we could then capture him in the livingroom. I thought it showed some early engineering promise. Linda was not convinced. As an unruly teenager, he’s now placing tripwires all over the place for myself and his mother, so I suppose her instinct was right.
Our youngest (Nicole) is terribly innocent. We actually had to tell her (earlier this year) that there is no Santa. Asking your mates in Secondary school “And what are your hoping to get from Father Christmas?” is not even funny.
So after a long and successful run we’ve had to make Santa redundant. It was brilliant while it lasted but, unfortunately, we had to let him go.
Letting Go is Difficult: In the coaching part of my job, I often face similar issues with executives. People miss out on a CEO promotion that they really wanted or get turned down for an overseas assignment to a great post. Younger, or more qualified, players seem to effortlessly burn up the fast lane. Huge bonuses, earned in a different era, disappear along with the lifestyle that went with them. Ski gear has to stay packed away, and might remain in that cupboard for some time to come.
The first step is to acknowledge the loss. Once this is done, we often work towards getting a sense of perspective around such events. Executives typically face what might be labeled as middle-class problems. The Roy Keane school of counseling might capture this as follows: ‘Nobody died. Get over it’. Perhaps lacking empathy, but still true.
So adios Santa. I really enjoyed our time together. It was a lot of fun and wonderful memories will remain. To be honest, I will have to find something to replace you with, something new to look forward to. Because I can’t live life looking through the rere view mirror. This chapter is closing but I need to start writing the next one. And, who knows, what delights lie ahead in 2011.
Paul Mooney PhD.