From the beginning of our time here on this planet we have been a fearful lot. In the earliest times we were the hunted. No different than the rabbit lowering its head to take a drink from the brook. Our ears perked to attention, nervous twitching, looking over our shoulder, wide eyed, watching for the lions, and tigers and bears….Oh my! There is a great Youtube on this topic by Phil Hellenes, called;
From this history not only were our fears formed but; our superstitions! As Mr. Hellenes so eloquently delivers, our need and desire to believe in a supernatural agent came to us at a very early time in our evolution. We developed an instinctive fear of the unknown, and to comfort ourselves we created gods. We created superstition. We create ritual to satisfy these superstitions and /or theologies. Sacrifice, praying, creating doctrine, worshiping, all sorts of worldly bias and offerings are created. We blindly attempt to fill the unknown gaps in our knowledge in order to gain a sense of control over our existence; as well as, “the tribe”. The elder of the tribe, the shaman of the hunter gatherer group speaks. His word is one of, maturity, comfort, and authority! He realizes the position and opportunity this gains him in the community. He uses it and builds upon it in a way which, yes; helps the tribe to co-exist and thrive. He and the tribal chief are able to control order among the people. This arrangement worked in its time.
Hence, we become comfortable in spreading little white lies to comfort and even to have a bit of fun! Fairies, leprechauns, unicorns, hobbits, Santa Claus!
We are very comfortable in telling our child about Santa Claus! It’s just a littlekid, right? Let’s show them the magic of Christmas, we were all exposed to in our youthful innocence. They will figure it out!? Right? We will tell them the truth, once they get a bit older. Let them have their bit of wonder, after all that is what being a child is all about, right? We will approach them at the age of reason, 7 to 10 and say, “yeah well, ah, ya know that little Santa story thing I was telling you about?” I see your starting to figure it out that maybe the story of the little fat man in the red hat that lives at the north pole with the sleigh and the 8 tiny reindeer that can fly and pull Santa and a sled full of toys all around the world in one night, while he delivers toys to every good little girl and boy by sliding down their chimney while they sleep? Ah; yeah.. not so much true!
But, the other story! Ya know…..the one about the guy, Jesus, who is born under a star in a manger from a married virgin mother?… What’s a virgin mommy?, Never mind we’ll get to that later! The 3 wise men; and then he was killed because you and I were born a bad person, but then he came back to life and he flew with angel wings up to the sky to be in heaven in the clouds with his father who is God but it is really just himself, I ah mean Jesus is God…ya see there is this trinity thing, Jesus, zombie Jesus, a.k.a. holy ghost, and god,,,confusing I know…, Well that story? Yeah, that story? Well that one is true! That one you can believe. OR ELSE!
Now what I have to say is not going to be popular, but after living my life and raising three kids, I am beginning to question the wisdom if not the appropriateness of lying to our children in this fashion. Having raised 3 boys I know the susceptibility of the developing child’s mind. They take in information easily, and then it becomes solidified, like pouring concrete. It goes in easily and then any misinformation has to be chip out with great difficulty. The development that takes place very early in the thinking centers of the child’s brain is critical. Here we are throwing out everything from God, to Santa to fairies and the boogie man at this young child and then expecting them to decipher what is real and what is not. Could this be damaging to their thought process development? It does at the very least, confuse them. The people in their life that they depend upon most for their information and development are lying to them about the world and we think it is cute! I don’t know for sure but this may be doing our progeny a great disservice for the long run in their lives. Very little of our life is lived as a developing baby/toddler/child. Is this really a good time to be playing games with their heads? Critical thinking, just maybe, should be given a chance.
I’m not saying abolish Santa, or the Easter bunny, or Frodo or even the boogie man, you gotta have him for Halloween to ya know! You can still have Santa; just tell them it is a story, like the Hobbit and Star Wars from the start. There is no need to dress it up as reality. Would it really affect the way they perceive Christmas that much? I doubt it! What they want are presents. Or; does it serve to set into their psyche, where a world that believing in superstition and supernatural beings is okay and acceptable?
Imagine this; in the future, in the same way that society frowns upon corporal punishment for children these days by parents and teachers. Or what the child is fed, like Mickey D’s or Taco Bell! What if there came a time that it was frowned upon to lie to a young child about the nature of the world in a manner that was presented as reality? That teaching your child at a very young age that; fantasy and superstition have a valid position in critical thinking. If we begin taking the formation of young minds more seriously and cut out the lies that “fantasy is reality”, not only do I feel we would be well on our way to a more enlightened society but a much more reasonable one, free of religious dogma!