Kevin Smith (of CFI-Canada) contributes to an Ask the Experts piece on Should parents allow children to believe in Santa Claus?
It’s a short stretch of a child’s imagination to blur the legends of Santa and the Christian god. They have much in common.
That’s why allowing for a belief in the magic of Santa Claus is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their little ones at Christmas. While it may seem irrational to perpetuate a myth about a jolly old man who slides down chimneys delivering gifts, it encourages a child’s development in critical thinking.
Unless the adults block it!
Well I suppose I didn’t go on believing in Santa Claus until I was 17 or anything. But the blocking still annoyed me. It seemed like breaking an implied agreement – you don’t lie to the child when the child asks a serious question.
It’s funny in a way though, because I can’t for the life of me remember ever really believing in god. I remember tv shows from early childhood, but not early childhood mental pictures of god. Maybe tv got in the way of god – which is why idolatry is supposed to be a bad thing, isn’t it: the image or statue gets between you and the…fantasy.
Santa Claus awakened my skeptical mind. After the age of eight, I began to question how it was possible for a sleigh to carry so many presents, and why did he use the same wrapping paper as my parents?
The gift of Santa comes with a due-date. It promotes a critical assessment of the world; teaching us to seek evidence rather than accepting something on faith. Why this doesn’t extend to other supernatural super-heroes is beyond my belief.
Exactly. I argued in the other direction – I was in the back seat of the car on summer vacation, age about 5 or 6. Santa Claus is real, I told myself sagely, so maybe god could be real. You see where that would have led in a few years.