I had a very interesting experience. My best friend is a Catholic, when we meet up we always talk about religion and politics etc etc. I am very close to his family his parents and his wife are also practicing Catholics. His brother is a atheist. They are all very liberal, baptist hating, ACLU members. I have always found the discussions heated and invigorating and we are still friends at the end. No one takes things personally.
So I am over at his parents house for the evening talking with my friends mother. His wife walks in the room and sits down beside me. The conversation is about indoctrinating children. Imagine my surprise when I bring up Santa Claus, and they act like I just punched a baby. I do not know how this subject is so personal. I believe the direct quote i received was "you can talk about Jesus all you want but leave santa claus out of it."
Two days later I am at my grandmas house with my family and extended family there are about 30 people there because my cousin is being deployed. I bring up this subject with my uncle about lying to children about santa claus. My uncle is as much a militant atheist as anyone i know tell me that he does think its harmful and dismisses my claim.
Ok am I being a dick? I find it very difficult to knowingly mislead children. Children expect you to teach them, they expect you to pass on what you know. Does anyone have any thoughts?
"you can talk about Jesus all you want but leave santa claus out of it."
That's a new one for me. Usually it's the opposite reaction.
Hey Daniel, I reluctantly went along with the Santa myth. I remember thinking Santa was great when I was a kid, and I was somewhat disappointed when I learned the truth. My problem with it as a parent have to do with the contradiction we present (not so much the lying part - get to that in a second). We send a mixed message to kids. Don't talk to strangers. Don't take gifts from strangers. For some reason, it's okay to sit on some old guy's lap and ask for presents? It's creepy in a way. Besides, I really didn't like this imaginary friend getting credit for all the good stuff. What's the point? I do like the idea of a kind "person" who brings joy during the darkest days (winter solstice). Santa is a kind, giving concept of us all. It's not all bad mythology.
When my first kid asked about Santa, I realized that the lying part sort of works because it's a transition from being a little kid to being a big kid. Most kids don't feel lied to. They feel like they have been brought into the secret world of adults. It's almost like some rite of passage. I never got the sense that my kid lost any respect for adults because of the lie. It was interesting to notice that. He was asked to keep the secret, and he felt more grown up. In a twisted way, it was somewhat okay for me after seeing that.
I don't think you're being a dick about this. It's a personal viewpoint. I would be just fine without the Santa myth, just as I am without the Jesus myth. I think it is still nice to celebrate with family and friends - exchanging gifts or just sharing time and food together. The end of the year is symbolic, and we need our own sense of rebirth after a long year.
You should not worry about what the family thinks. People hold onto their customs and superstitions vehemently. It's ingrained in many of us to be that way.
I agree that kids feel like they're being let in on a secret. I don't feel like it's wrong to let kids believe in something like this, Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, as long as they grow out of it.
When we talked about Santa to our six year old this past year we asked if it made sense to him and he said no. We talked about the tradition of it, St. Nicholas. We also celebrate St. Nicholas day, btw.
Well I don't think you're being a dick, but kids do need fairy tales. It's not bad for kids to believe in them, as long as they grow out of it.
To answer the question. No I do not think you are being a dick at all. I think both sides are acceptable. You can raise your kids how you wish and if you don't want to lie to them and tell them straight forward, good. If you decide to go along with it, good. It's your call.
I personally find that since my parents went along with it and I got to experience it, that looking back on things, it helped me along to thinking more critically and relate it to my former belief in god and question my beliefs. As for me. I am not sure which route I will take. That's a discussion for another day. I can see both sides and can agree with parents on which ever route they take.
I wouldn't go so far as to say you're being a dick, but you are looking for an excuse. I was raised Catholic. I always excelled in math and science due to my personal fascination with it (i.e., I was a nerd). Being Catholic didn't stop me from doing well in those subjects, nor did it stop me from earning my degree in Physics from what was, at the time, one of the top 15 Physics programs in the country. I don't see any connection between the multiverse we understand and the multiverse we don't understand because we're still learning about it. Whether there's a god at the end of our studies remains to be seen. I have no idea, but it doesn't stop me from learning more about the multiverse.
Perhaps you should have limited your focus to fundamentalists that accept the Bible literally as written. Not all theists fall into this category, but for those that do, that would create a problem while researching how (and when) the universe was made.
I was raised catholic and my friends father was my sponsor for conformation.
I am looking for a justifiable excuse to what appears to me to be lying to children for there own good. Without actually knowing if it innocuous.
I decided to tell my daughter about Father Christmas and the tooth fairy and let her have the fantasy. However, it all went pear shaped when gods came up. Because she was taught about Christianity at school (I am in the UK) I taught her at home about lots of religions and creation myths and Humanism and evolution and encouraged her to think critically about them and this worked well because she decided gods were man made and silly.
However she then said to me (at the age of 7) -' I know father Christmas and the tooth fairy are real because they leave presents and money and take my tooth but I don't believe in a god because I've never seen one do anything'. In other words, she had seen EVIDENCE of FC and the tooth fairy. This totally threw a spanner in the works of my teaching her to think critically and examine evidence plan. I had to tell her her father and I brought the presents and show her the teeth. Tears. :-(
I was told by family and friends that not letting her believe in Father Christmas would ruin the excitement of Christmas and I myself remember being very excited about FC and when I found out he was not real I just felt very grown up and 'in on the secret' This was not the case for my daughter. What I would do, if I had another child would be to tell him or her that Father Christmas is a made up person who we all pretend to believe in at Christmas - kids understand that - they pretend all the time and we can still hang the stockings and jingle the bells under her window and leave out a mince pie etc but we will ALL know we are pretending. :)
I can only speak from my experience as a child, as I'm not a parent, but I did not grow up religious. My parents are both atheists, I never went to church or any other religious service (except occasionally with one set of grandparents), and I didn't believe in god- didn't spend much time thinking about it either way. But, I did believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and all of that and I don't think it hurt me in any way. I felt like some of the other posters as far as feeling "let in on an adult secret- I'm such a big kid now" when I found out.
I think you have to gauge your child and how they react to things, but I don't think its inherently bad to tell kids these things- I for one just thought it was fun. I wouldn't judge a parent for deciding otherwise, though.
My kids got letters from Mary the Fairy and Alf the Elf whenever they lost a tooth, cookies were consumed and milk drank every Xmas morning and psychedelic eggs littered the living room and yard each easter and the moment my wife or I were asked if it was in fact the elf or I who left the gifts we would answer with the truth assuming that by asking the question they were old enough to know the truth.
I don't think children need myths but I think they can enjoy them until they are ready to abandon them
I brought up homosexuality through a conversation that was about politics and such. There were 2 12 year old girls sitting near me and most of my family attempted to berate me for bringing up the topic of homosexuality as if it was completely unsuitable for 12 year old minds. I was shocked and offended that they would be so ridiculously protective of their 12 year old children who were also my nieces. I wasn't saying anything detailed about what homosexuals do or sexual things, just mentioned the word and the family was like 'that is totally innapropriate to bring up around children'...wow.
My aunt led her daughter on until she was 11 years old about Santa Claus. She still believed it all, everything. So some people are sensitive to things spoken around children.
I don't think you're being a dick at all. They are just being way too sensitive.
I don't think you are being a dick. On a personal level I agree with you, I don't like misleading children because it's supposedly fun. However there is no (scientific) evidence that things like Santa or the Easter Bunny and so on are harmful. I'm an early childhood educator and preparing for a masters in education so I am frequently exposed to research in this arena and as far as I am aware there are no studies specifically on this subject just lost of opinions. Most people religious or not are unscathed by this and some even take their first steps toward atheism when they find out these fictional characters are indeed fictional.