There is a school where Santa Claus learns how to answer heartbreaking requests

I’m inclined to be a problem solver, almost pathologically so. Winston Wolf is my spirit animal. It’s the work I do and often becomes my role with family and friends. It took until my early 40s to realise that I’m not obliged to do that, that there’s not always a solution out there, and that not everyone is looking for a solution to their problem (even when they acknowledge there is a problem).

I’ve learned, as the second article states, that often it’s more important to quietly witness and be present and to comfort. It’s still an act of will for me to do so and fight my tendencies. I frequently have to catch myself. But being mindful of this has improved my relationships with those around me.

Thanks for these articles. I’ll add the most famous cinematic depiction of the compassion and kindness described in the first one.

ETA: Re-watching it, I’m reminded what an extraordinary sequence it is. This is the moment in which the cynical kid played by Natalie Wood starts believing that Kris might be Santa Claus. It works on several levels, and everyone in the process from the writer to the editor knew it needed to be handled with particular care.

First, there’s the choice of the Dutch girl as the focus. Contemporary audiences at the time knew exactly the levels of trauma this little girl suffered: not only losing her parents, but spending most of her life on the brink of dying from starvation, terrorised by bombing raids from the Nazis (Rotterdam was a particular horror) and later the Allies, and then being taken halfway around the world to a strange place for her safety.

Even without that knowledge, though, the sequence still lands despite most of it being in another language. Acting, direction, and cutting carry it. We see Kris connect with the frightened girl by literally and figuratively speaking her language, which is all that’s needed to show that this is someone with Santa-like generosity or spirit toward children.

And looking at the translation reveals an even greater depth still, one that re-inforces the ideas discussed in the FPP articles. When asked she wants, the girl asks only to be able to stay with the kind lady who adopted her. And instead of promising her that will happen (because he has the humility to understand he doesn’t really know their circumstances), he invites the girl to sing a familiar song that will allow her to re-affirm her own belief that Santa will deliver it.

The sequence is imbued with true humanity by all who created it. That’s why it’s so powerful.

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