Santa? Tooth Fairy?
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16-10-2013, 10:51 AM
Santa? Tooth Fairy?
I'm listening to Seth interview Dawkins as I type this and they are discussing whether its harmful to teach kids fairy stories like santa.

Near and I have discussed this. He is very much of the opinion that lying to your children is not a good idea and goes against our shared value of truthfulness.

I almost agree, but I also agree with...I believe it was Cecil....of the Cognitive Dissonance podcast who says its a good exercise in critical thinking practice for children.

What do you guys think? Those of you with kids, did you encourage fairy stories with your children?
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16-10-2013, 10:55 AM
RE: Santa? Tooth Fairy?
Personally, I grew up around fairy stories and "magic" coming from a wiccan family, and really enjoyed that aspect of my childhood, and managed to stay mostly atheistic at the same time.
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16-10-2013, 11:06 AM
RE: Santa? Tooth Fairy?
Ha - Julia Sweeny came across this issue with her daughter however, she started a bit too late. Her daughter already had developed some primary critical thinking skills before she told her about Santa or the tooth fairy. The idea of some stranger coming into their house while they slept just terrified the shit out of her.

You might check out her book, If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother. She goes through how she handled/mishandled both Santa and the tooth fairy. Pretty hilarious.

***
Personally, I would always make sure a kid - any kid - knows what "pretend" is and why some people seem to like to keep up the "pretending" into adulthood. Traditions can make for wonderful events but belief doesn't have to be a part of a positive tradition.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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16-10-2013, 11:08 AM
RE: Santa? Tooth Fairy?
stories are fine, sure sprinkle a bit of magic to instil wonder. To say that these things actually exists is a bit misleading. My step cousin believed in santa until he was 14..at least I think he stopped then. I think its best to talk with the child and see what they think. Children should always be able to play pretend though. Hell I still do it.

"I don't have to have faith, I have experience." Joseph Campbell
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16-10-2013, 11:23 AM
RE: Santa? Tooth Fairy?
Allowing your children to use their imagination is different from "drowning your children in lies." At least that's how I see it. Santa, tooth fairy, Easter bunny, etc are stories that make Holidays and events fun for your children, and allow them to use their imaginations. For children that aren't told of Santa's nonexistence, they typically figure it out for themselves sooner or later. It's not a life crisis.
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16-10-2013, 11:53 AM
RE: Santa? Tooth Fairy?
But, but - fairy tales are what prompted me to become an atheist when I was 10. I had read Grimms Brothers and Andersons etc. fairytales, and then read the bible. I decided the bible was also a fairy tale and that was that.

And heck, I LOVED xmas and easter and all those things. They let my imagination soar and it was all so exciting, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

One can also go overboard and delete culture to make a political point. Is that really necessary? Some things are just FUN for a kid!

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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16-10-2013, 12:05 PM
RE: Santa? Tooth Fairy?
The difference is that these child stories are meant to be revealed as lies later on. That changes everything, because now it's a matter of how much damage (is any) is done in comparison to the fantasies and enjoyment the kid gets from it. Personally I rather try to stimulate imagination and fantasy otherwise, but in the end I guess it's just not that big a deal.

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16-10-2013, 12:19 PM
RE: Santa? Tooth Fairy?
I know I wasn't hurt by the Santa and Tooth Fairy stories and neither were my kids. I grew up with a lot of the old classic fairy tales and Aesop's Fables and I guess I just always enjoyed the magical and the far-fetched (like a mouse pulling a thorn from a lion's paw) but understood what many of the stories were trying to say. Like Dom, I guess that's where I learned not to take what I read literally. Fiction isn't fact. It can be fun and entertaining and can spur the imagination, even teach a lesson. I suppose that's why I lumped the Bible stories right in the same batch.

The fun of things like Santa is great for a kid...the waiting and the wonder and the surprises. It's fun as a kid, it's fun to be an older kid that's "in on the secret" when it comes to younger family members and then you get to try to create the magic for your own kids. It was like graduating to the next level of the Santa secret club. Now I watch as my girls work to make the same magic for their kids...the torch is passed and no one needs therapy because of it.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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16-10-2013, 12:25 PM
RE: Santa? Tooth Fairy?
(16-10-2013 12:19 PM)Anjele Wrote:  I know I wasn't hurt by the Santa and Tooth Fairy stories and neither were my kids. I grew up with a lot of the old classic fairy tales and Aesop's Fables and I guess I just always enjoyed the magical and the far-fetched (like a mouse pulling a thorn from a lion's paw) but understood what many of the stories were trying to say. Like Dom, I guess that's where I learned not to take what I read literally. Fiction isn't fact. It can be fun and entertaining and can spur the imagination, even teach a lesson. I suppose that's why I lumped the Bible stories right in the same batch.

The fun of things like Santa is great for a kid...the waiting and the wonder and the surprises. It's fun as a kid, it's fun to be an older kid that's "in on the secret" when it comes to younger family members and then you get to try to create the magic for your own kids. It was like graduating to the next level of the Santa secret club. Now I watch as my girls work to make the same magic for their kids...the torch is passed and no one needs therapy because of it.

Exactly. While young, it just stimulates the imagination and gets the juices flowing.

When getting to be a "big kid" it's like a rite of passage to find out about it and belong to the "grown up" group because one shares a secret.

I see absolutely nothing harmful here. Quite the opposite, if it teaches anything, it's skepticism.

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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16-10-2013, 12:26 PM
RE: Santa? Tooth Fairy?
(16-10-2013 12:19 PM)Anjele Wrote:  I know I wasn't hurt by the Santa and Tooth Fairy stories and neither were my kids. I grew up with a lot of the old classic fairy tales and Aesop's Fables and I guess I just always enjoyed the magical and the far-fetched (like a mouse pulling a thorn from a lion's paw) but understood what many of the stories were trying to say. Like Dom, I guess that's where I learned not to take what I read literally. Fiction isn't fact. It can be fun and entertaining and can spur the imagination, even teach a lesson. I suppose that's why I lumped the Bible stories right in the same batch.

The fun of things like Santa is great for a kid...the waiting and the wonder and the surprises. It's fun as a kid, it's fun to be an older kid that's "in on the secret" when it comes to younger family members and then you get to try to create the magic for your own kids. It was like graduating to the next level of the Santa secret club. Now I watch as my girls work to make the same magic for their kids...the torch is passed and no one needs therapy because of it.

I remember one year, my grandpa had made me the most fantastic train set, and they set up santa by putting some coal "dirt" on a pair of boots and having boot prints walking too and from the fireplace.

Waking up on christmas morning (6 am, that was the rule, had to wait till then to come out of our room) and finding that train set with the half eaten cookies and footprints by christmas tree light....I was a lucky kid to experience such "magic"
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