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-   -   Should I teach my kids to believe in Santa (http://ravingatheists.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13906)

Rat Bastard 12-15-2007 06:30 AM

We need to figure a new word for those celebratory days while we're at it- "holidays" comes from "holy days".

Sternwallow 12-15-2007 06:56 AM

Quote:

ubs wrote (Post 458610)
Yes. Children should be permitted to believe in magic and indulge in fantasy. Its great fun and it passes fast!

And it conditions them to think magically and to accept superstition. Yeah, that's the ticket!
:eh:

Sternwallow 12-15-2007 07:01 AM

Quote:

GodlessHeathen wrote (Post 458633)

Hey, guy, thanks for finding this. :rock:

Sternwallow 12-15-2007 07:26 AM

Quote:

Irreligious wrote (Post 458711)
You don't have to teach your kids to believe in Santa if you live in a culture where images of Santa Claus are pervasive this time of year. They'll pick up on the belief without your help. If you don't want them to believe in Santa, then you'll probably have to actively discourage such beliefs.

Personally, I think it's harmless, since they all outgrow that particular fantasical belief well before they hit puberty.

It's perfectly natural for children to view the world as a magical place. It helps them to cope with a lot of confusing and complex notions that are entirely alien to them. They're new people, after all.

Besides, they have to be acquainted with fantasy if they're ever going to be able to distinguish it from that which is real. And indulging fantasy can have the side benefit of encouraging them to think creatively. The idea of humans soaring above the clouds was, necessarily, relegated to the realm of fantasy 150 years ago. But it was creative minds that figured out how to approximate the fantasy and begin to conceive of it as something that could actually be a "real," concrete human experience.

Your words are wise, young Marklar. My qualm is about the difference between creatively building a fantasy versus believing it.

Those people you mention about flying didn't actually believe that their concocted notion was real, did they? It was a fine dream, but only a dream.

I think the primary enterprise of childhood is learning that there is no magic. They work very hard all the time to discover how things really work and we call the activity "play".

Concepts and ideas arrive at our minds with breathtaking frequency. Magic is just one way to briefly postpone the analysis that will eventually integrate the concept into our overall world view. It is important to always understand that the magic is not real, being imaginary. Otherwise, if the magic is believed as true, that certainty will prevent the needed further inquiry.

Thus, we didn't know the cause of mushroom rings. We imagined fairies dancing around shaking their dust (pollen) onto the ground. If we had seriously believed that, we would not have investigated and discovered the propagation of spores. Likewise, if we envision a soul to explain the sanctity and dignity and purpose of human life. It is OK, as long as we do not believe that it is an actual fact. Later we can dissect humanity and discover that the soul is the correct answer or that it is actually a complex enzyme secreted by the Pineal gland or something else entirely.

Sternwallow 12-15-2007 07:29 AM

Quote:

Rat Bastard wrote (Post 458729)
We need to figure a new word for those celebratory days while we're at it- "holidays" comes from "holy days".

We also don't want to proclaim our belief in the god Saturn. This is why I have been using
"Happy Celebratory Season" or "Happy and Prosperous Celebratory Season" or just "Happy Season".
:angel:

inkadu 12-15-2007 07:30 AM

Or you could just teach your kid to read and how to use a globe. When he reads, "Made in China" on all his toys from Santa, he should be able to figure out something's amiss.

Unless you also give him a copy of "The Economist" in which case he'll just assume Santa off-shored his factories.

Irreligious 12-15-2007 09:03 AM

Quote:

Sternwallow wrote (Post 458738)
It is important to always understand that the magic is not real, being imaginary.

I agree most emphatically, Sterny. Though I'm still of the opinion that there's no real harm in cutting those under 7 years old a break.

Livingstrong 12-15-2007 10:51 AM

Quote:

inkadu wrote (Post 458741)
Or you could just teach your kid to read and how to use a globe. When he reads, "Made in China" on all his toys from Santa, he should be able to figure out something's amiss.


:lol:

It's true though.

Desillusioned 12-15-2007 04:09 PM

Quote:

CycloneRanger wrote (Post 458706)
I've never understood this whole "Santa" thing. When I found out he wasn't real, the first thing I asked my parents was "why make up this story?"

I'm not pissed or anything at the lie, and it seems pretty harmless, but I still don't see the benefit. What exactly does a belief in Santa do? Why not just admit that the gifts labeled "from Santa" come from the parents? It's all rather pointless.

a teacher once told me, that it is easier to tell the kid a fantasy, than explain a very complex idea to them. Or at least what adults think is complex. So the idea that Santa as a reason for presents is in fact very harmless.

I was raised in venezuela, so instead of santa, we had Baby Jesus. Then on my 8th Christmas my parents told me Baby Jesus didn't exist (in the "giving presents kind of way"), and i end up fine.

Sternwallow 12-15-2007 06:58 PM

Quote:

Desillusioned wrote (Post 458796)
I was raised in venezuela, so instead of santa, we had Baby Jesus. Then on my 8th Christmas my parents told me Baby Jesus didn't exist (in the "giving presents kind of way"), and i end up fine.

So now, when you find out that someone close to you has lied, you do not lose a little of the trust you had in them? If not, why not?:eh:http://ravingatheists.com/forum/images/icons/icon5.gif

ubs 12-15-2007 07:39 PM

I think that's harsh Stern. I come from a long tradition of adults telling tall bullshit tails to the kids in the family and I don't think it hurt me at all.

It seems like just yesterday I was listening to one of my young uncles tell my cousin about how the world begged the scientists not to cross the bees with the killer spiders, thus forming the killer bees. The scientists, he said with a mock sob, just wouldn't listen.

Santa just fit right in with that. I loved Santa when I believed and I loved revisiting the bizarrely elaborate tales when I realized it was nonsense.

For years now my own kids have been telling me (with hard looks) that THIS year they will be catching "Santa" in the act. I always say (with my own hard look) "Is that right? How are you going to do that?" To which they always respond. "It's top secret."

Sternwallow 12-15-2007 08:09 PM

Quote:

ubs wrote (Post 458843)
I think that's harsh Stern. I come from a long tradition of adults telling tall bullshit tails to the kids in the family and I don't think it hurt me at all.

It seems like just yesterday I was listening to one of my young uncles tell my cousin about how the world begged the scientists not to cross the bees with the killer spiders, thus forming the killer bees. The scientists, he said with a mock sob, just wouldn't listen.

Santa just fit right in with that. I loved Santa when I believed and I loved revisiting the bizarrely elaborate tales when I realized it was nonsense.

For years now my own kids have been telling me (with hard looks) that THIS year they will be catching "Santa" in the act. I always say (with my own hard look) "Is that right? How are you going to do that?" To which they always respond. "It's top secret."

I didn't mean to be harsh. It is ordinary practice in families I am personally familiar with, to place trust and truth on a very high pedestal from the outset with their children. Then some of those same parents tell outright and deliberate lies (not fibs or fantasies, but "really real facts" to be believed whole-heartedly). They are then stunned when the children discover the truth and, along with it, a new resentment.

I think I like the approach of your family where make-believe is not elevated to dogma and where it can be benign fun with no traumatic let-down. :thumbsup:

nkb 12-16-2007 07:21 PM

This was actually the subject that made me join this forum.

I'm with Sterny on this one. I don't understand the need for getting kids to believe in a real-life Santa, as I don't see how it actually increases their enjoyment of the holiday. The presents are first and foremost, and the only reason kids love Santa is because they believe that he is the one supplying the gifts. Take that link away, and kids don't give a shit about the old fat man.

I prefer to have my kids to implicitly trust me, so telling blatant lies is not high on my list.

ubs 12-16-2007 07:36 PM

Even if you always seek to tell your children the absolute full frontal truth, because it is your point of view, you cannot help but skew the information. How is blind faith in you any different than blind faith in anything?

Sternwallow 12-16-2007 08:44 PM

Quote:

ubs wrote (Post 458970)
Even if you always seek to tell your children the absolute full frontal truth, because it is your point of view, you cannot help but skew the information. How is blind faith in you any different than blind faith in anything?

Of course you exaggerate. Placing truth on a high priority so that you and your children can share the strongest possible trust, accepting that it will not be perfect on either side, is better than either insisting on blind faith or showing that lies are an acceptable behavior.
:eh:


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