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Should children be taught that Santa is real?

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Chris OConnor

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Should children be taught that Santa is real?

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Recently I was discussing this topic with a friend and she opened my eyes to the hypocrisy of teaching a child that God is a myth, yet Santa truly exists. Ouch. Any comments? "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." -- Albert Einstein"If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being." - Jerry Falwell"I don't see any god up here." - Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (the first man in space), speaking from orbit, 1961.
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Re: Should children be taught that Santa is real?

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Chris,I got into this debate on another board of atheists. To view the whole discussion you can go here: atheistparents.org/forum/...forum=2&30Here is what I wrote:This is an interesting topic. Not only did I grow up without the Santa myth, I grew up without Christmas altogether, along with all the other holidays. I was raised as a Jehovah
Drunkenblade of Kay

Re: Should children be taught that Santa is real?

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Good observations Lil, I never really considered how the tradition of obligatory giving could be detrimental to an individuals welfare. That point really hit home and made me consider the kind of values I might be imposing on my future children.However, I am not sure I can agree with you on the point that children are more tolerant of beliefs than adults. My experience has been the opposite. I find that children can oftentimes be very cruel. A child's fear of being different is exponentially more severe than an adults. It seems that kids tend to hunt for vulnerabilities in their peers in order to keep the spotlight of ridicule from falling on themself. Some children are more able to deal with this pressure, such as yourself, while others buckle under and become antisocial, like your sister, or even asocial, in the case of that ostracized classmate who friendship with is highly taboo.Those are my thoughts which of course are subjective to my experience. I'd like to hear what you think.
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Re: Re: Should children be taught that Santa is real?

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Tim,However, I am not sure I can agree with you on the point that children are more tolerant of beliefs than adults. My experience has been the opposite. I find that children can oftentimes be very cruel. A child's fear of being different is exponentially more severe than an adults. It seems that kids tend to hunt for vulnerabilities in their peers in order to keep the spotlight of ridicule from falling on themself. I would agree that this is true with older children, especially those in their teenage years when social relationships become very important and peer pressure is a strong factor. I don
Drunkenblade of Kay

Good point.

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I'll have to defer to you on this one Cheryll, your argument makes sense. I agree that disbelief in Santa Claus isn't going to be a social stigma. My parents never even mentioned Santa Claus, and I so I don't think there ever was a time that I believed in Santa. This didn't affect me detrimentally, although I do remember friends who disturbed and embarrased by their naivety once they came to the realization.At any rate, and this might be a good thing to research, my childhood memories, even at a very young age, paint nonconformity in a negative light. For instance, I was made fun of for bringing a sack lunch to school when "everyone else" purchased.
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On teaching myths and social ostracism

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I have to agree with Cheryl for the most part on this one. I also was raised a JW and cannot recall getting put down for not celebrating the holidays (although when I was really young I wanted to celebrate Halloween and Christmas pretty badly). Over all I don't think I was deprived in this area, although I can see that it can be a lot of fun for children (my parents didn't miss playing video games because there were none back then, get the point?). I don't have any children, so I cannot speak from experience, but I personally would not teach my children that Santa is real or any other type of myth. I mean, I wouldn't get really upset if they believed it from others at school or on television -- they would grow out of it. Not having any emotional attachments to the holidays, I also have a "take it or leave it" attitude about them. Earlier this month I had a birthday and didn't do anything special (of course I haven't found a lot of friends to celebrate with!). If and when I do raise children I probably will celebrate the holidays, but I think it is important to keep it in perspective and demythologize certain aspects around it. Probably another question would be if I would raise my child with even the possibility that there is a God. That's a question that I don't think I am prepared to answer. I can see the advantages of vaguely speaking about God up until a certain age and as my child gets older discussing various arguments for and against the idea. I just don't know yet.Oh, and Happy Halloween everyone! (First time I've ever said that).
the raged

Re: Should children be taught that Santa is real?

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Maybe it could be used as a lesson in critical thinking?Even if you were to tell your child that santa (for some reason, I keep wanting to type "satan" :grin: ) is real, when they get to an age where they can start distinguishing and thinking critically, sit down with them and go over the santa myth. Get them to really think about it. See what conclusions they come too. If they are able to come to the conclusion, based on the stories of santa, that he is a myth, it will not only be a lesson for them on critical thinking, but it may also help them realize that it is ok, and good, to look at things like this, and examine them.Just some random spews from the crazy place I call my brain.
Timothy Schoonover

Re: Should children be taught that Santa is real?

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I think we all can learn from the example of Kevin Smith in how a child should be treated in regard to mythical characters.www.viewaskew.com/sounds/...astard.wav
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Re: Should children be taught that Santa is real?

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I really don't see a problem with anyone doing it. Childhood SHOULD be mystical and fun. It's not like it's a super-believable story once they get older anyway.
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Re: Should children be taught that Santa is real?

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Zach,I agree that childhood should be mystical and fun. The imaginations of children should be fostered. But at what cost? If a parent must perpetuate a lie so that their child believes something is that ok? Don't parents have a certain obligation to educate their children properly and build a trusting relationship with them? I feel that responsibility toward my daughter. I will encourage her to play and use her imagination. I may take her Disney World where she will encounter large dressed mice, dinosaurs or other strange make believe characters. I'll read books to her about talking animals, fairies, elves and magic. And I'll let her watch movies about a big fat old man who rides a sled through the air bringing gifts to young children on Christmas. But I won't be telling her that any of these things are a reality. When she starts questioning them I'll be honest with her like with everything else. I just don't see where you can go wrong in promoting honesty with your children. And to do so you should be setting the example. At least that's how I see it.Cheryl
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