Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Visual Contradictions

Throughout the United Stated during the holiday season, many front lawns are decorated with Nativity scenes, animated characters, Santa Clauses and snowmen, fake flying reindeer, elves, and whatever a person feels like...all in one big conundrum. We had a visitor with us from Sweden for a few days who thinks these arrangements are quite hilarious. It is really quite bizarre the way that mainly Christians have the whole Santa + baby Jesus + Commercialism thing going on so brightly and boldly right on their own front lawns. What is seen by the passers-by is a menagerie of contradictions!

I recently was told by a 4-year-old child that Santa was in "heaven" with Jesus...(and also her grandma's kitty. Jesus and Santa were taking care of the kitty "up there" I guess.)
This is the same child who the year before said that Santa was going to bring her a certain present and her father asked "how do you know that?" and she said "Jesus told me." It was cute, and funny, but also points out the absurdity of these conflicting beliefs and the confusion it causes in the mind of a child..

When the time comes to tell the truth about Santa, there is an immediate need for the parents to explain then that Jesus and God are real, but Santa isn't, Santa is just made up. . and even though we cannot see Jesus and God, they are not made up. No wonder that one of the fastest growing professions in this country is psychotherapy! If children were raised with honesty and taught to think rationally, there would be far fewer problems in the world and people would be happier and less disappointed in life.


freethoughtmom said...

did you do the santa myth? something I am struggling with myself... because of your point about being honest...

Stardust said...

Yes, I did the Santa myth when my kids were little. (We were still trying to be Xian's then.) And the Easter bunny, and tooth fairy. Our three kids figured out who Santa was quite early on. I think our oldest was 7 then he told the other two. But for some reason they went on believing in Easter bunny too long...our daughter was 10 when she came out of school one day in tears. She said so and so said there was no Easter bunny and asked me if it was true. I was amazed that she still believed that. I said that it wasn't true, it was made up to have fun. She SOBBED and said "what about the footprints in the basement!" I used to make footprints out of charcoal on the basement floor towards the back basement door to make it look like Mr Bunny came and went.
If I had it to do over, knowing what I know now. I would still have pretty decorations and stuff, and we would tell the fable of Santa and his elves etc just like Mickey Mouse and Cinderella, but I would not go through the "Santa is coming to bring presents" thing again. One lie builds into another lie, then another lie...it keeps building and building!
Like when they ask "we don't have a chimney, how does Santa get it?" I said, "he has a magic key." They asked "what if he loses his key?" I lied "he can make himself into magic dust and make himself really tiny to come through the keyhole." If we want our kids to be honest, then how can we teach that if we say it is okay to tell "good" lies, but not "bad" lies? We went through that ordeal too!
There is a lot of explaining to do when they get older!!! The story of Santa can still be fun without having to even say if it is real or not. If I had it to do again, I would just let them use their imaginations and find out for themselves like they realize eventually that Mickey Mouse is not real, Barney is not real, Big Bird is not real...etc. But I wouldn't tell them some guy in a red suit is coming to visit us...he would remain in storybook imagination land.