A bit of harmless fun, lying to children, or downright abuse?
In the run up to last year’s festive season, I saw an item on Facebook about the purported conversation between a father and son over whether Santa was real. I rather liked it and so, although something I rarely do, I shared it.
In brief this is that story story :
Yes, Santa exists, but he’s not an old man with a beard in a red suit. That’s just what we tell kids. You see, kids are too young to understand the true nature of Santa Claus, so we explain it to them in a way that they can understand. The truth about Santa Claus is that he’s not a person at all; he’s an idea. Think of all those presents Santa gave you over the years – I actually bought those myself. I watched you open them. And did it bother me that you didn’t thank me? Of course not! In fact it gave me great pleasure. You see, Santa Claus is the idea of giving for the sake of giving, without thought of thanks or acknowledgement.
When I saw that woman collapse on the subway last week and called for help, I knew that she’d never know that it was me that summoned the ambulance. I was being Santa Claus when I did that. So now you know, you’re part of it, you have to be Santa Claus too. That means you can never tell a young kid the secret, and you have to help us select Santa presents for them, and most important, you have to look for opportunities to help people.
This tale aligned with my experience of my daughter finding out about Santa – she was very touched by the fact that I’d been giving her gifts without finding it necessary to receive thanks or acknowledgement. So, I was especially surprised when a friend commented
“Sorry, it’s a nice story but telling lies to children is abuse and making up other lies and stories to cover it up just reinforces the deceit. I have experienced the fallout.”
I don’t doubt for one minute that he’s telling the truth, but I was surprised at the evident strength of his feeling. The more I thought about it, the more I felt it was important to do a bit of data-mining as, just because my experience had been positive, I shouldn’t close my eyes to the possibility I was simply lucky.
What’s been your experience? Are Santa – and other such stories – harmless fantasies, or is it lying and abuse?
© Debra Carey, 2020