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Author Topic: Santa
Jesse
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I'm just curious.

How do those of you who lie to your kids about Santa Claus justify it?

This of course presumes that no one on Ornery old enough to have children believes in Santa themselves - if any do, the question isn't directed at you. I understand teaching your children what you believe to be true.

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TommySama
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I developed serious trust issues after I found out Santa wasn't real. But people who tell their kids that are probably too stupid to think things through.
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RickyB
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I would have no problem with it. I was told as a toddler that Elijah comes on passover to drink the cup of wine left for him. There's a whole bunch of things you have to teach your kids only to later explain that it's not exactly like that.
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Eric
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quote:
How do those of you who lie to your kids about Santa Claus justify it ?
I'm not gonna bother responding to a question framed with such obvious hostility. You appear to have made up your mind on the subject already.
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Kent
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I have always told my kids there is no Santa; yet they love to argue that there is. I say their lines so they have to say mine. Then again, my parenting style is weird. When my kids tell me they hate me, I reply in my sweetest, most melodic, smiling voice "I hate you too."
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Jesse
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Seriously, what else am I supposed to call it?

Fibbing?

Ricky -

I see subtle differences. Your parents believed Elijah was a prophet, and that he lived, and that he was comming back...didn't they?

From the way you describe them, they probably believed he was in some sense in his chair at a Bris, neh?

How many Christians, expecially protestants, believe that Saint Nick has the power to act on earth?

[ December 24, 2007, 03:10 PM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
When my kids tell me they hate me, I reply in my sweetest, most melodic, smiling voice "I hate you too."
Yeah, but you hate everyone, so that takes some of the sting out of it. [Wink]

As for santa, I've told my kids the stories but don't press it if they ask. If they are still very little, I ask them, "What do YOU think?" If they keep asking, I tell them.

But the way I tell them about santa is the same way I pretend all kinds of fantastic make believe stuff with them. If I chase them around the house saying "I'm the tickle monster and I'm gonna tickle you!" they understand we're playing a game. If I say, "Santa's watching to see if you're naughty or nice!" I think at most ages they understand that this also a bit of a game...but they want to play their part in the game, too. There may be a time or two when they are not too sure how much is real or not and they'll ask and I'll tell or guide them toward figuring it out but beyond that it's never been an issue.

It seems most kids come closest to really believing about 4-5. Their imaginations are going wild at that age and they believe a lot of things they see in cartoons are real, too. This is brief and they don't go on to think that cartoons "lied" to them.

Now, I will agree that some parents seem to go to such great lengths to convince their kids that it borders on or is deeply in the territory of lying. But the way my parents handled it was along the same lines as when my mom told me I'd turn into a girl if I kissed my elbow. I knew it wasn't true from the start and she never meant for me to be truly duped. But we both laughed as I tried to kiss my elbow to prove it wasn't true. Likewise, I don't tell my kids to stop lying to me if they tell me they are superman.

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RickyB
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Sorta. My father at least. My mom I'm not so sure about. They did NOT believe that he was coming that night to drink the wine. My father would drink "his" wine. [Smile] And no, only symbolically in his chair and so on. It doesn't really matter. I agree the Santa thing is more... detailed. It's like the tooth fairy. I see nothing wrong with that either. I got a present from the tooth fairy. Didn't caus me trust issues [Smile]
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TommySama
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I probably started with trust issues from earlier stuff. Santa just compounded that. Lying ****ing parents.
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Jesse
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Yet, there's no element of bribery in playing the "You'll turn into a girl if you kiss your elbow" game, is there?

I agree, if everyone knows it's make-believe there isn't much difference between the Santa game and the "The floor is hot lava" game.

Ricky, I accidently mugged the Tooth Fairy.

Mom was reaching under the pillow, I woke up scared and jerked my head up and broke her nose. [Frown]

[ December 24, 2007, 04:20 PM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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LoverOfJoy
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Again, I think it depends on how it's done. It doesn't have to be any more bribery than saying, "Everyone who eats their dinner gets dessert!"
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RickyB
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LOL! You're like a Philadelphia Eagles fan - they booed Santa, you mug the tooth fairy [Smile]
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Lisa M.
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quote:
Yet, there's no element of bribery in playing the "You'll turn into a girl if you kiss your elbow" game, is there?

I was so disappointed that I didn't turn into a boy [Frown]

I was a very bendy child.

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Ron Lambert
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I've never had kids of my own, but I did work as a camp counsellor at church youth camp for two summers to earn tuition for college. I confess I did enjoy sending out my campers on Snipe Hunts. In a way, that is sort of the same thing. In future life, my campers probably looked back on the experience as a cherished tradition, which they will undoubtedly turn around and inflict on others, when they get a chance.

As for the trust issue, perhaps it is important that children learn not to trust any human being completely--even parents.

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MattP
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I hope that it teaches my kids a lesson about the value of skepticism.
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KnightEnder
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I call it tradition; good clean fun. Kids don't need to know the truth about everything in this ****ty world. And the longer they can believe in magic and wonder, that does them no harm, the better. Heck, Jake was nine before we told him. Because I didn't want to take that magic away from him. Something he will never have again. Never get back.

Besides, it's once a year and they get presents. The one thing I don't like about it is that I don't get credit. But I can do without that to keep the magic in their hearts. It's not like I'm forcing them to sell their souls and sit in object boredom once a weak. Nor do I expect them to believe what I tell them till I die. Plus it is an excellent way to show them that religion isn't true. I was more upset that the Easter Bunny wasn't real when I figured it out.

Every year once they get old enough they as "If Santa is real?" And our standard answer is "Do you believe he is?" If they say yes, we say their you go. When I was six I answered to my Mom; "If I knew I wouldn't be asking you." Yes I was a smartass from birth. She laughed and told me the truth. I lost a little something that day. We all do when the magic of childhood is gone. It should last as long as is possible and is not detrimental to their well being. The only reason I told Jake when I did was because the kids at school were giving him a hard time. Their parents had already taken Santa away from them.

Again, I justify it because it does them no harm, they will learn the truth soon enough, because I want to, and I'm his parent. No more justi****ication neccesary. Hope that answers your question. [Smile]

It may seem contradictory coming from me, but there it is, and I believe it is right and good.

PS, Little John was skeptical from about age 4. Sometimes people are too smart for their own good.

I love you, Jess. But, there it is.

KE

[ December 24, 2007, 10:41 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Gaoics79
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quote:
I call it tradition; good clean fun. Kids don't need to know the truth about everything in this ****ty world. And the longer they can believe in magic and wonder, that does them no harm, the better. Heck, Jake was nine before we told him. Because I didn't want to take that magic away from him. Something he will never have again. Never get back.
It's pretty bizarre to think that you'll be taking the "magic" away from childhood if you refrain from artificially manufacturing a specific myth or fantasy for your children. Kids are already prone to believe all sorts of crazy fantastical things without adults telling them to. You don't need to tell your kid there's a monster under the bed for the kid to think it so.

I suspect that this is one of those things that parents do more for themselves than their children. It's like dressing the child up in a certain costume; you try to make the kid conform to some nostalgic idea in your head of youthful innocence. It's a chance to feed your own sense of nostalgia, for the most part. Parents perpetuate the lie mostly for their own entertainment. I am quite certain that parents who go out of their way to perpetuate and nurture the Santa Clause myth are being 100% selfish.

That said, I can't see much harm to doing it. Most kids figure it out pretty quickly anyway.

Still, if you're a parent, again, why go out of your way to lie to your kids? And to be frank, a lie is no less a lie, just because it's cute and/or harmless. Just saying...

[ December 24, 2007, 11:43 PM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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Richard Dey
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My grandfather admitted to every child he met that he was Santa -- and took credit for it all!
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Jesse
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Oh, hey, I don't think yer some big 'ol scum for doin' it John.

"Lie" and "Justify" might be kinda offensive, but they really are simply the best words at my disposal to ask what I'm asking [Smile]

I'm not throwing big ol' heaps of judgement here - while I might think the bad outweighs the good, this is so far down the list of "bad" things parents do to kids as to be laughable.

I just always saw the "don't lie" + "Believe in Santa" thing sort of like an extremely milder version of "don't hit people smaller than you" + "smack".

I stayed up all night peeking through the door directly at the X-mas tree when I was four, and saw the parentals set the boxes out and fill the stockings.

My Dad was relieved, my Mom was upset.

Mom then forced me to pretend to believe for the "benefit" of my cousins, or do without the loot.

Still makes me feel a little dirty that I opted for the loot.

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kenmeer livermaile
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It teaches children early on that their parents are fairly full of ****.

This is healthy knowledge, so long as it combines with the knowledge their parents are also full of love for them.

As for parents blackmailing kids not to tell other kids... that's gotta hurt.

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flydye45
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Jesse, I hope your child grows up to be an actuary (assuming that you can find a woman who accepts that you don't believe in those other little lies like love, romance, and thought monogamy) [Wink]

[ December 25, 2007, 08:11 AM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]

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flydye45
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Standard response from Terry Pratchett


Death: Humans need fantasy to *be* human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.

Susan: With tooth fairies? Hogfathers?

Death: Yes. As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.

Susan: So we can believe the big ones?

Death: Yes. Justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing.

Susan: They're not the same at all.

Death: You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet, you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some, some rightness in the universe, by which it may be judged.

Susan: But people have got to believe that, or what's the point?

Death: You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?

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kenmeer livermaile
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Nice Xmas prayer, fly. My sentiments prezackticisely.
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Straygaldwyr
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We must first learn to swallow the little lies so that the big ones, like justice, community, and so on can be swallowed later. Your level of advancement intellectually and in the fictional brotherhood of man depends entirely on how well you can embrace lies(abstract realities). Things that are not real that we all believe in bind us together.

(and the topic starter is an ignorant ass for not knowing that) Came back just long enough to see that without me nothing of worth is being said... as you were...

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Richard Dey
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N.B.: There's an island in Boneravia called Bonerangatan, and its duchy is named Bonerangatania, named by Pratchett [Wink] .

Reality is a fiction others foist upon us; fiction is a reality we foist upon others. Or is it vice versa?

I suspect Rowling is Pratchett's reality!

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Jesse
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Your contributions are as valuable as ever, Stray.

Community isn't a lie, but a neccesary fact of life for social primates. Justice isn't something which exists, but a goal to be sought after.

You may well be part of an "us" in which only liars are welcome, but that doesn't mean I am.

Fly -

There's a difference between telling Santa stories in the manner LoJ describes - as essentially no different than any other game of make-believe that a kid is in on - and selling falsehoods.

After nine years, I'm pretty sure my wife could tell you if I think love, or romance, or my bizarre monogamy fetish, are lies.

I have no disagreement with the idea that we need to dream to remain sane, and that we need to share those dreams with others to remain part of a functioning community - the question is whether or not the bright line between reality and fantasy is something that ought to be maintained, and whether concocting and selling a hoax to people who haven't the knowledge to see it for it is can truly be for their "own good".

But then, I know how you voted in '04. [Wink]

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scifibum
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My oldest is 4 and my wife and I didn't go to any length to sell the Santa myth this year. He was there for most of the shopping, for one thing, and everything was wrapped in the same paper, for another. He's not stupid, and we don't much care whether he believes in Santa or not.

He thinks Santa is just some scary old guy in the mall on whom, for some arcane reason, my wife wants him to sit. Thus far, he believes only the absolute truth. [Smile]

As to bribery: Most kids figure out early enough that Mommy & Daddy are full of crap when they say only the good boys and girls get presents. They know what they did; here are the presents. QED.

A lot of parents who DO go to lengths to persuade their children that Santa is real don't bother justifying it in any strict sense. Kind of what KE said. [Smile]

Side note: I hope to be able to teach my kids that "don't lie" is not the real rule. The related, real, rules (AFAIAC) are not to deceive others for your own gain, and not to cause harm through words without a good reason.

A better liar than me could demonstrate any number of scenarios where you can tell the truth, but still be deceptive and do wrong. My simplistic example: I'm selling a car, and the buy asks me, "does this have a clean title?" and I say yes, because it does. But I know that the car was totaled and then fixed without reporting it to the state...so I've said only true words but haven't been honest in giving the buyer the information I know he needs in order to make a fair transaction.

If we don't insist on black and white "don't lie" - then it's not necessarily hypocritical to tell some lies about Santa if we think it's a net benefit.

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KnightEnder
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quote:
I suspect that this is one of those things that parents do more for themselves than their children. It's like dressing the child up in a certain costume; you try to make the kid conform to some nostalgic idea in your head of youthful innocence. It's a chance to feed your own sense of nostalgia, for the most part. Parents perpetuate the lie mostly for their own entertainment. I am quite certain that parents who go out of their way to perpetuate and nurture the Santa Clause myth are being 100% selfish.
Man, you couldn't be more wrong. In the spirit of the day I will refrain from telling you how wrong you are in detail. But do you have any idea how much trouble, time, and expense the Santa myth necessitates? And all with no credit going to the parent but to a fat Yankee. You don't have kids so you don't know, but when you do they become your life. Everything is done for them. I find your post to be very insulting. And I discussed with Stacy's whole side of the family today at Christmas dinner, with my boys present, and they unanimously agreed. Anybody that is 100% sure of anything should examine his thinking. Combine that with making such a broad generalization about people that devote their lives to raising their children and it's just really unfair and leads me to question your point of view on the matter. I'm sorry if your parents, or those you know are ****ty, hey, there are a lot of ****ty parents, but once again; you don't know what the heck you are talking about. Oh, and "nostalgia"? My memories of Christmas sucked. My boys have never known a bad one. I know this because I talk to them, and I made damn sure. And not just by buying them gifts or any of that materialistic crap, but by letting them know how much they are loved and how deserving they are of happiness. Happiness I, and okay mostly Stacy, worked hard to make sure they received. If it's selfish to enjoy seeing your children happy, then guilty as charged and convicted in your statement.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas. I did. With my two beautiful healthy happy loving boys, who are growing up to be good men.

PS, we found out yesterday that John got accepted to Stephen F. Austin, we're still waiting to hear from UTSA.

No matter where he goes he will be leaving home next year and I am going to miss him like you can't imagine. For 18 years he has been my life. But I'll let him go. Encourage him to go. Because that is what is best for him. And that is what it is all about.

KE

[ December 25, 2007, 11:56 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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canadian
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This is your big complaint? That parents tell the story of Santa? My kids probably stopped really believing in Santa at age four, but they still like the IDEA of him. Who doesn't? He's nice, he gives freely, and he tallies our score, reminding us that maybe we should be doing the same.

Not so bad, that lard-assed home invader.

[ December 26, 2007, 02:53 AM: Message edited by: canadian ]

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canadian
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Also: Merry Christmas.
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RickyB
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Santa may not be real, but the fobbit doth live! [Big Grin]
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kenmeer livermaile
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I love this guy:

Satan's Claws

How can I not? He gave us this:

Santa Rules; Satan Drools

And this, best of all:

Santa Lies Hurt Children

Actually, some fun mythohistory mixed with the psychoses...

Anyway Jesus died for your sin, maybe, but not mine: I'm a good boy!

[ December 26, 2007, 03:49 AM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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flydye45
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I should probably have put a smiley on the post.

Your post reminds me of that television commercial where a child is dressed in peg pants and dress shirt, eats fiber O's, and let's a frisbee bounce off his chest, shaking his head in Scrooge like disapproaval as he reads the financial pages. Some rot about how the denial of music classes makes Republicans.

Have to say I'm not totally comfortable about the whole thing, but then again, learning that someone is willing to sell you a bill of goods isn't necessarily a bad life lesson either.

Then again, I'm ENJOYING parenting. A whole new crop of therapists will sing my praises.

[ December 26, 2007, 09:22 AM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]

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Carlotta
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There's a difference between truth and fact. Is Santa factual? No. But are the ideas behind him - generosity, etc - true? Yes. When my kids ask me if Santa is real in the factual sense, I will tell them no. But at their ages they don't distinguish - my son goes out and shoots dragons in the back yard and my daughter has lots of imaginary friends. I play along with these because in some way these games of theirs represent important ideas to them. Then when they get older again and able to see that some things, though not factual, still have some kind of truth in them, they hopefully will come to appreciate the story of Santa again.

And because it was asked, the way we explain it is that St. Nicholas was the first Santa Claus, he brought treats in the night to children and money to people who needed it. I tell my daughter he brought wedding dresses to girls so they could get married, because she loves to play getting married and doesn't understand the idea of a dowry. The idea in our family, as my husband put it, is that Santa is a role, much like the Dread Pirate Roberts, not a particular person, so the guy who currently lives at the North Pole isn't the same person as the original St. Nicholas, but they aren't competing either, the current Santa is St. Nick's successor. Which was the only way I could figure out how to make the story work since as Catholics we teach our kids that the saints are in Heaven, and that St. Nick was Santa Claus, and I have heard lots of kids ask how could St. Nick be Santa Claus if saints are in Heaven and Santa's at the North Pole.

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Straygaldwyr
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Better to have a 'milestone' around my neck?
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mdgann
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My wife and I never told "Santa" stories or purposely deceived any of our kids. Yet they all at one point or another "believed" in Santa. We developed wonderful traditions around the season that bring family together in love and unity. I have a hard time understanding how this is a bad thing.
It seems like those that are having difficulty dealing with this mythylogical tradition must have deeper issues with trust and parental relationships than just this Christmas thing. Could this be the case? Or are there those that feel that this is a "real" societal problem that ought to be eradicated?

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Then again, I'm ENJOYING parenting. A whole new crop of therapists will sing my praises."

What's another little white lie? [Wink]

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kenmeer livermaile
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"the question is whether or not the bright line between reality and fantasy is something that ought to be maintained, and whether concocting and selling a hoax to people who haven't the knowledge to see it for it is can truly be for their "own good"."

It's a fine and valid question that, for the most part, posters on this thread have dodged. I think it resides in an enormous and overwhelming context.

In the rain forest live people who still tell their children that various demons will do nasty things to them if they wander off. Lions and tigers and oh my bears seem less effective than boogeymen and jinns and woggamooks.

Then there's that God and Satan business, of course.

When my boy asked me, "Is that Santa stuff really real?" I of course told him that no, it was a fairy tale and, just as or more important, that Daddy had been telling a lie. The importance wasn't whether Mom or Dad *always* told the truth, but whether Mommy or Daddy always maintained honest recognition of the difference between truth and lie.

When I cheated on my wife aeons ago, it was one thing that I'd lived a lie for awhile. But when my wife asked me outright if I was shagging the neighbor lady, I owned up straightaway. To have done otherwise would have destroyed the very concept or marital truth.

Being told to enforce a lie by his mother must've really burnt Jesse. I knew it would have scalded my mind had it happened to me.

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KnightEnder
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Jesus? Is that what this is about? Well, maybe letting my kids believe in Santa helps there too. If, heaven forbid, one of my boys came to 'believe' in Jesus, I could just say; "Hey, remember when you believed in Santa Claus?" [Smile]

Hope Santa brought everybody what they wanted for Christmas.

KE

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Funean
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At 8 plus, my boy still steadfastly believes. I expect his sister (4 years his junior) will be the one to break the news to him.

In truth, this is entirely in keeping with his determination to hold onto magic. This is a kid who thinks the world should be beautiful (he knows lots of it isn't, and is indignant) and who, every day, willfully chooses joy.

When I grow up I want to be more like him. [Cool]

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