no childhood magic for Atheist children?

After reading this article, I am wondering ... should I always be honest to my child and never start telling him about Santa, the FSM and the Easter Bunny, witches and gnomes, fairies and the goblin in the washing machine that eats up single socks?

Remembering my childhood, I simply liked this magic stuff, and I liked to believe in it even though I knew it wasn't really for real. I continued talking to my teddy for comfort even when I was old enough to know he was only a stuffed animal.I loved to play, imagining myself sitting in a rocket on the way to the moon. It didn't matter that at age 9 I already knew it was only an old wooden bench and that a salad bowl ontop of my head would be of no use outside of our planets atmosphere. It was play.

I think this is basically, what Santa etc is as well: play! Why not play "pretend" with your kids?!

Should I really keep my child from experiencing his childhood as a miracolous thing where anything was possible? Isn't a bit of wonder and adventure needed when growing up, to have creativity go free and to keep wondering throughout life? Isn't science full of magic and wonders too, because it is so amazing and so very detailed and complex that no human being has the mental capacity to grasp it in its fullest (not implying any Gods here)?

I am afraid draining a childhood of all mysteries will create a resignated, dull, pessimistic adult, who is not really interesed in anything much. Who won't be able anymore to close his eyes and have himself wander amongst hobbits when listening to Tolkien audio plays, who doesn't see a point to read fables to his kids or just roll around the floor tickeling them and laughing his ass off.

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Comment by Daniel on December 7, 2011 at 9:55am

Wow this is a tough call. I think erring on the side of happiness is always better. :D Strip the stories down to basic lessons that the child can learn. Christmas is about a man a long time ago he did some good things, people thought he was a god because of his deeds and ideas. So in the spirit of joy and appreciation Santa Claus gives gifts for people that behave morally. Not quite so robotic but you know lol.

Comment by Becca on December 7, 2011 at 10:17am

Children will create their own 'magic' no adults are necessary for this. Not doing Santa or the Easter bunny or explaining how things really are to your child when they ask is not going to ruin your child's childhood. Not letting your child use their imagination would be a travesty though. Every child knows the box they are sitting in isn't a rocket ship for reals they know they are pretending (a child who doesn't know this should be professionally evaluated.) There's a big difference between concepts like Santa (which aren't necessary) and a child using their own imagination (which is necessary.)

Comment by Becca on December 7, 2011 at 10:20am

Also I'd like to add... friendly teasing like telling your child there's a goblin in the washing machine I think is part of a healthy childhood. Most kids know there really isn't a goblin in the washing machine but their imaginations allow them to think, "well what if there was?" and that's where the fun is.

Comment by Cody Robinson on December 7, 2011 at 12:57pm

Well, I know that if I ever have children I will be teaching them that Santa and the rest are fake but that there are lots of other kids who will believe in them and that it should be our little secret. I would still encourage the celebration of them, I think Santa is an especially nice idea but I wouldn't want to disillusion them at all while they are developing. The "magic" of the world and universe are beautiful enough to leave both you and your kid spellbound. Teach them critical thinking and science and not magic like our schools so frequently do...

However, this is just my view, when it comes to kids, only the parent has the final call.

Comment by Dale Headley on December 7, 2011 at 4:05pm

  It boggles my mind that any true atheist would defend setting up their children to accept myths, however comforting they might be.  I fail to discern an iota of difference between making a child happy with a Santa Claus loaded with presents for "nice" children, and making an adult happy with a god toting a sackful of eternal life.  Both myths are equally preposterous LIES. Once you have been conditioned as a child by one false paradigm, your mind is forever attuned to acceptance of any other that you might find convenient or pleasing.   In essence, religion is nothing more than a congegation of myth-ready children who failed to grow up with the courage to face the inevitable truth: we ALL die...FOREVER!          

   If you believe that telling a lie to children is a good thing just because it makes them feel good, what is wrong with doing the same with adults?  If they find that the only way they can face life's vicissitudes is with a magic man in the sky watching over them, why not, so long as they keep it to themselves?  Unfortunately, though, they usually don't; but that is another story. 

    The basic question for an atheist is whether telling lies is ever good in any context.  I don't know, but I wouldnt do it in any but the most extreme, exigent circumstances.  In any event, my childen will never hear about Santa Claus from my lips.  My children will be encouraged to be rational, reasoning, and skeptical.  I want them to have a sense of wonder; but I am confident they can get more of that that simply through the profundity of nature as revealed by science than they can by wallowing in childish poppycock.  


Comment by Unseen on December 7, 2011 at 7:29pm

I would go along with Santa Claus. The Easter Bunny is another matter entirely, though you could tell your kid "Hunting for Easter eggs is fun. We don't celebrate Easter the way some people do, but it's still fun to hunt for the eggs, which is the fun part."

Comment by Unseen on December 7, 2011 at 7:35pm

"Once you have been conditioned as a child by one false paradigm, your mind is forever attuned to acceptance of any other that you might find convenient or pleasing."

Then explain all the ex-Christian atheists here.

Comment by Unseen on December 7, 2011 at 8:11pm

I'm sorry your childhood affected you that way, but I'm sure I speak for most of us here in saying that exposure to the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, or the Easter bunny did us no harm at all, much less harm that was irrevocable. In particular, I doubt if many of us hold a grudge against our parents for whatever harmless fun may have ensued.

Comment by Ed on December 7, 2011 at 8:41pm

Give your kids an empty refrigerator shipping box. It will become a castle, a sled on a hill, a ship, a submarine, whatever. The point being their imagination will not be suppressed by an unimaginative parent who doesn't enjoy sharing a good fairy tale. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. The first time my mom told me to put my tooth under the pillow for you know who I thought to myself "Does she really expect me to believe that?"  :^ )

Comment by Unseen on December 7, 2011 at 10:34pm

@Kir   "my sense on this is that u either tell the truth or u don't. u either mean what u say or u don't. u back up ur words with action or u don't. i have zero patience for anything less than that *for me personally*"

I don't always tell the truth and I don't always mean what I say, and once again I think I speak for a lot of us. A slavish and robotic commitment to never ever telling less than the truth (and there are a lot of ways an untruth can be other than a lie) is totally and comically naive. I also am sure I speak for a lot of us when I say that sometimes I don't mean what I say. I can be ironic or metaphorical. I can tell someone everything will be alright when I suspect it won't, hoping that I'm right but suspecting I'm wrong.

You are being very ridiculously simplistic and unsophisticated.


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