Madeline Crabb
The concept of naughty and nice
By Madeline Crabb
December 22, 2017

Recently there have been some pretty adorable TV commercials from a toy retailer showing children performing tasks and doing good deeds for their parents, indicating that the "naughty list" is not an option. This has gotten me to thinking about where the naughty and nice concept originated. Since it is Christmas time, let's ponder this idea...

Most of us as children have been taught from stories/tales about Santa Claus. From the song Santa Claus is coming to town, Coots/Gillespie © 1934, we learned the following:
    O! You better watch out
    You better not cry
    Better not pout, I'm telling you why.
    Santa Claus is coming to town.

    He's making a list,
    And checking it twice;
    Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice.
    Santa Claus is coming to town

    He sees you when you're sleeping
    He knows when you're awake
    He knows if you've been bad or good
    So be good for goodness sake!
Simple instructions, wouldn't you say? In today's vernacular, we might say stop with your pity parties and belly-aching, or stop feeling sorry for yourself. (Also called behaving badly.) And as funny as it sounds, these instructions apply to adults as much as they do children.

Consider the fact that children learn their bad behavior from someone, somewhere. Uhh...could it be it is from us adults?! Of course it is. Just watching TV for even a short period of time will teach us scores of bad attitudes and behaviors that are sadly being repeated across society. Selfishness is at the center of it all. "I want it my way. Ha! Frank Sinatra used to sing, "I did it my way." Well folks, having things "our way" is generally bad for us and society. Look at the mess we are in. More on this in a bit...

Back to our song, we learn that Santa Claus is "making a list and checking it twice" and is "Gonna find out who's naughty and nice." Obviously, this little bit of information from a song has gotten many of us, when we were children, to think about our behavior, causing us to act more appropriately. Don't deny know it did! The thought that someone was actually watching how we behaved, and was taking notes caused us to straighten up, even if our parents couldn't get us to behave otherwise.

Well, someone is indeed watching us – and He is not Santa Claus. His Name is the Lord God Almighty! Yes, He watched us as children, and He continues to watch us now. And guess what? He has His own list...and yes, He is going to find out who's naughty and nice. What has become the rule, rather than the exception, is that we adults are making a royal mess of things in our own lives, and being bad examples for our children. Yes we are!

Consider: The American Psychological Association reports that the divorce rate in America is about 40-50 percent, with an even higher rate in subsequent marriages. As adults, we can't manage to stay committed to our spouse and work through our problems and differences, choosing instead to just dump the bums/bummettes. (Yes, I coined a new word. Guys aren't always the monsters in relationships.) By the and women are different. God designed us differently, for different purposes... soft vs. hard, gentle vs, tough, nurturer vs. provider. We learn from Scripture that "iron sharpens iron," but in the male/female relationship called marriage, we are sharpened and softened by our "complimentary" natures. God called it "good." And yes, this is good despite what the LGBT espouses! God didn't just change His mind in the 21st century. Ha! Just because we think we are smarter than God does not make it so.

Therefore, if we as adults aren't committed in our relationships, what does this teach our children? Why is there so much talk of "bullying" among children? ( have always teased and taunted other children. It used to make us stronger.) I submit that because so many adults can't properly interact with other adults, children learn to act the same way. Divorces become generational because of what children are taught from their divorcing parents. Consequences. Perhaps that is why it is called learned behavior?

Back to our song, we also learn that Santa "sees us when we're sleeping, and knows when we're awake." Worse, he "knows when we've been bad or good" and that we should "be good for goodness sake." Uhh, I don't know about you, but I took these words to heart as a child, and still do! Obviously, as adults we know the Santa Claus story is for children, but the concept of naughty and nice comes from somewhere.

Again, there is indeed someone who knows about when we are asleep and awake, and when we're bad and good. This someone is God, and He wants us to be good.

Contemplating the concept of good is what we all should be doing, particularly at this time of year when the songs we hear, at least in our homes due to the public banning of them, tell us about goodness.

Contrary to popular belief, Christmas is NOT about gifts. Oh, there are so many people who feel like inadequate failures because they can't afford to get presents for members of their families. There are so many children who go back to school in January to hear about all the presents other children got for Christmas, but are embarrassed when asked about theirs. Hello! WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO OUR KIDS? MOREOVER, WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO JESUS?

Oh folks, I do not mean to lecture, but this is an important subject we should be discussing. Yes, many people do strangely become "nicer" at Christmas because of the "tradition" of Christmas. God gave the world the greatest gift of all: Jesus Christ, His only Son. Hallelujah! But now, for all but Christmas, we can't even say that Name in most public places. And those who despise Jesus want us to be silent even at the time we set apart to remember His birth. And We the People have ALLOWED it. Shame on us.

While the spirit of kindness is more prevalent at Christmas, there is still much bad behavior – even from professing Christians. The Holy Bible is 66 books teaching about the concept of naughty and nice. Oh there is so much to say, and so little space. But, let's look at a few scriptures.

From the Sermon on the Mount, we learn what is called the Golden Rule: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matt. 7:12 NIV) Even little children learn the "Golden Rule" as early as kindergarten. It is a concept that is taught around the world, and originated in the Bible! It also teaches the concept of naughty and nice.

We learn a little more about the consequences of being naughty from Galatians where we are told, "For each man will bear his own burden." (Gal.6:5 WEB). Further, Scripture says, "Don't be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Gal. 6:6 NIV)

In today's society, far too many adults no longer want to accept responsibility for their own actions, or commitments. If we make mistakes, or even do downright stupid, careless things, we immediately want someone else to pay for our actions. The "it's not my fault" or "I'll make someone else pay" attitude that has forced insurance rates to astronomical levels, and made America into a litigious society. It's destroyed multitudes of relationships, bankrupted people who have been sued, and taught our children that if we bungle things in our lives, we aren't to blame. Guess what? These children continue with believing someone else is always responsible, just like from the Garden of Eden when Adam blamed his wife, and she blamed the serpent/Satan. (For what?...Their bad behavior/disobedience.)

The blame game continues generation after generation. And God is not happy. That's why the Scriptures teach from the second of the above-mentioned passages that we will reap what we sow.

When we blame someone else for our own stupidity or even carelessness, someone will probably do the same to us at some point. If we don't take responsibility for our own actions/debts/lives, the Bible has another admonition: "But if anyone doesn't provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Tim. 5:8 WEB) While this last scripture is directed at Christians, it still applies universally to mankind.

Personal responsibility used to be a concept taught to all children. But as already mentioned, by the very behavior of adults shirking their responsibilities, and playing the blame game, our children no longer are taught the truth about this important principle.

So, while we started this column by considering the concept of naughty and nice taught through the idea of Santa Claus watching us and checking his list, we have learned that indeed naughty and nice are addressed throughout God's Holy Word. The fact that God tells us there is a price we will pay for being "naughty" should be very sobering to us, particularly at this time of year when everyone is frazzled and frenzied because of what we have allowed Christmas to become. Tempers get short, people make demands for better deals on goods, basically wanting things their way, never considering the ramifications of their actions. Sadly, many of these people are professing Christians.

And if so-called Christians are behaving badly, what messages are we sending to the rest of the world? How can we think the unsaved multitudes will ever behave properly when even we behave badly? How can we expect children to learn how to be "nice" when we so often are naughty"? To anyone willing to hear....

© Madeline Crabb


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Madeline Crabb

Madeline Crabb is a Christian, a Constitutional Conservative, and a patriot. Holding a degree in journalism and public relations, and training from the Leadership Institute, she has been a columnist since 2000, and has written for various Christian newspapers around the country. As a “watchwoman” on the wall (Is.62:67), Madeline calls all citizens to awaken, arise, and act in restoring one nation under God.


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