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Saturday, December 10, 2005


Do You Believe?

In my post below, I worried about continuing to tell my kids that Santa Claus is real while at the same time teaching them the importance of telling the truth. Does that make me a hypocrite, or is it important for children to believe in myths and magic?

Well, tonight we sat down to watch the 1994 film version of Miracle on 34th Street (I really like Richard Attenborough as Santa) and I was struck by this quote from the movie, as spoken by Attenborough:

I'm not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanor. You know, I'm a symbol. I'm a symbol Of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives. If you can't believe, if you can't accept anything on faith, then you're doomed for a life dominated by doubt.

I'm going to let my kids believe in a few myths and fantasies for as long as they want. Hopefully they'll carry a few of those beliefs through to adulthood and never completely lose their childhood sense of imagination and wonder.


Blogger Jen said...

To me, Santa Claus is just a little extra bonus to the holiday season. I didn't go through a huge tramatic event when I found out he wasn't real...and to be honest with you, I don't know any kids who have. Just do what feels right.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Darth Daddy said...

Here here!

Im right there with you. I think that belief in myth and magic can enhance a childs sense of adventure, self image, and broaden their imagiation. When they've learned to dream, they are ready for any reality life can throw at them.

Shannon (Magician, Santa Impersonator, and daddy)

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Jared said...

My wife and I have discussed this several times.

She was a die-hard skeptic during her childhood, and wouldn't believe in anything she couldn't see - for her, Santa was never an option.

I'm as sentimental as they come, and always have been.

We're Christians, but our problem with Santa Claus isn't ideological - we just don't want to lie to our child.

So, instead, we're going to pretend. We'll do the cookies and the presents, but we'll do so knowing that it's all pretend, and that it's all for fun. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote dozens of letters to his children from Santa Claus.

We also feel it's important to teach our son about the real St. Nicholas; we're even thinking of celebrating Sinterklaas (my wife's family is Dutch).

7:58 AM  
Anonymous chip said...

This discussion reminds me of the David Sedaris radio piece on when he was an elf at Macy's Santaland. It is absolutely hilarious (if you haven't heard it go to the link). My kids loved it too.

I don't know if my kids ever really believed in Santa, or if they did, when they stopped, it was more of an evolutionary kind of thing. We did talk about Santa coming and put "from Santa" on presents.

As as kid my parents also talked about Santa, but I never remember actually believing that he was literally real.

6:10 AM  

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