There Is No Santa

This is something that’s come up between me and my friends a few times over the past weeks, so I thought I’d finally talk about it here.  No, I don’t have friends that still believe in Santa – but they believe in telling their kids about him.  I didn’t grow up believing in Santa Claus.  My dad thought it was “stupid,” so my sister and I grew up knowing the truth about where presents come from.  This, though, has nothing to do with how I feel on the matter.  As I’ve mentioned to these friends of mine in conversation, I’ll never tell my kids about Santa.  Why?  Because it’s a lie.

It’s a concept I can’t seem to get anyone to understand, even though it’s a very basic one.  Telling kids about Santa Claus is lying to them.  That’s it!  Unless you, yourself, believe that the fat man in red flies around the world and delivers gifts to children every year, telling kids that it’s true is a lie.  I wouldn’t lie to an adult, so why would I lie to a little child, especially my own, who is looking to me for guidance?

I get excuses that it’s all about tradition or believing in magic and wonder… and you can have any rationale you want, but you can’t tell me that it’s still not lying to your kids.  I’m not cold and bitter – quite the opposite.  I love kids.  I love having fun and pretending, but when you play pretend with a kid you’re not telling them it’s real.  You don’t lead the kid to believe that you’re actually pirates floating on an invisible ship and that the playground is just imaginary.  Yet, people are happy to tell kids flat-out lies about Santa being real, which the adults don’t at all believe.  Not only that, but as with most lies, it compounds itself.  At first the precious little toddler accepts things as truth.  As the child gets older, though, and logic begins to enter their mindset, they ask questions.  To conceal the truth a parent must continue to lie and make up new lies to answer the kid.

Obviously this doesn’t just relate to Santa.  I am very keen on realism, especially with kids.  There is no need for false hopes nor is there space for unnecessary pessimism.  Give kids and adults the respect of speaking truthfully.  Children, quite often, aren’t given enough respect, though, and that breaks my heart.  Much of that respect is based on honesty.  When I worked with kids, I’d always tell them the truth, and over time they came to respect me for it.  For some reason the truth is often seen as “bad,” when it’s only what it is – true.  Kids in a competition shouldn’t all be given awards to placate disappointment, because awards are for the winners.  Kids can handle the truths of dead animals, because death is a fact of life.  Kids are capable of much more than they are often given credit for, and much of that is what’s present here.  Why lie to a kid about Santa?  Tradition?  Wonder?  My friends, if you want to teach your child something – don’t do it with a lie.  Hoping that Santa will infuse magic into their lives is a defeatist approach, because once they realize the truth… they may very well believe that there’s nothing odd and wonderful about this world at all, when there certainly is.  Sure, they’ll always look back at their childhood memories of Santa as great, but it will only be the precursor to the “harsh realities of life.”  It’s such a lousy outlook on life, one that I know most adults have…
that kids are so full of happiness because they haven’t been beaten down by
what life really is.  A child’s perky attitude is based not in misunderstandings of life, as many assume, but in knowledge of what life IS all about.  Kids know how to enjoy life and have fun, something that is often eroded as they grow up in a society such as ours.  Pushing a lie like the existence of Santa onto kids is only going to hasten that erosion… when we should be doing everything we can to deter it.

But, hey… if you believe in Santa Claus, teach your kids about it.  I’m not here to question your beliefs ;-).  For anyone else, I really hope you’d reconsider.  There is no reason to ever lie to anyone – especially children.

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About Mark Mushakian

Just a man who loves God, women, kids, dogs, movies, and every other lovely thing in life :)
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6 Responses to There Is No Santa

  1. Nick Reiber, Attorne says:

    I don't question your reasoning here at all. But I do have to say that if you think your childhood of never believing in Santa hasn't influenced your opinion now then your not giving it enough credit. People who tell their children of Santa do so because they themselves had a wonderful childhood experience with that very same "lie". Had you had the same experience I did, then you might feel more like I do and have fun with the idea of Christmas. Again, not saying it's wrong or it is right. But, it's a bit foolish to deny the fact that our upbringing in such a holiday effects our final opinion of it.

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  2. Mark says:

    Yeah, I get that – but there are plenty of things my parents did do with me as a kid that I don't now agree with, one of which was lying and telling half-truths (as most parents do)… which is what this concept is really based on. So, even if I'd been raised believing in the jolly elf… I still think I'd be at this conclusion based solely on that hatred of lying to kids.

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  3. danny says:

    sounds pretty cold and bitter, mark. it's a holiday for goodness sakes. parents tell their children that adam and eve and god really do exist, too!! i was told that over and over – that i MUST believe! i MUST pray every night to save my soul! 8 years of catholic school, come on.

    guess what.. there's no god and moses didn't save every animal on the planet. so who's living the lie? 😉 it's all a matter of perspective. no need to be so adamant about such a harmless thing as "santa claus" for goodness sakes! it's a great old tradition.. let people enjoy it without the harshness..

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  4. Mark says:

    Try reading it again, Danny – and pay attention this time. I said everything I need to.

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  5. danny says:

    mark, everytime you say "santa" in the passage above, replace it with "god". try it.

    you believe in god. i do not. why are you right and i am wrong? why are you allowed to believe in the holy spirit and i cannot believe in the spirit of christmas?

    you deal mostly in black and white on issues. that's fine, but sheltered. lastly, i don't think a non-parent should be preaching to actual parents about how to raise their children. you work one day a week, mark! come on.. 😉

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  6. Briggity Brak says:

    you pretty much shot your own argument in the foot there, danny. That's the point exactly. Replace the word "Santa" with the word "God" in the last paragraph. Mark believes in God, so he will surely teach his kids about Him. You do not, so he would never expect you to do so. So why should you expect him to teach his children about Santa Clause when he doesn't believe in him? Or anyone else for that matter?

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