Santa makes children good?

Link: Santa makes children good

This article raises some interesting points, but as usual the field of psychiatry is completely unscientific and makes a ton of unfounded conclusions.

For example:

[Doctor Mark Salter] said the significance of myths and magic, such as the legend of Father Christmas, were being eroded by a society obsessed with rationality.

“The imagination which created Father Christmas is being destroyed by a society which holds rationality above anything else,” Dr Salter said.

Perhaps Dr. Salter should read Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins:

My title is from Keats, who believed that Newton had destroyed all the poetry of the rainbow by reducing it to the prismatic colors. Keats could hardly have been more wrong, and my aim is to guide all who are tempted by a similar view, towards the opposite conclusion. Science is, or ought to be, the inspiration for great poetry.

Then Dr. Salter continues ranting:

“Whenever anything goes wrong we hold an inquiry into it. We no longer seem to accept that bad things may happen in our lives.

“If Santa died, we would hold a serious incident inquiry and if we had any sense we should ask the Tooth Fairy to chair it.”

I have no idea how he came to these conclusions from a study of children and Santa Clause but I’m sure he was very scientific about it.

Lesson Learned

Buried within the article is the following statement, which I think is the important part:

“I suspect my nephews know [Santa] doesn’t exist but they are pretending he does because of all the associated benefits, such as presents, which go with it,” [psychiatrist Lynda Breen] added.

In other words, they have learned to be intellectually dishonest in order to fit in and to benefit themselves. This is certainly a useful social skill, but is it a good thing?

Unintended Consequences

I remember when I found out “for sure” that there was no Santa – I found the packaging from my Santa-delivered present in the trash. It was then that I recognized the web of lies surrounding my beloved holiday experience: like the time when we children rushed outside and saw Santa’s sleigh streaking through the sky like a star (conveniently pointed out by grinning adults); or when a gaggle of children ran out of the bathtub, just missing an appearence by St. Nick.

If these, my most cherished childhood memories, were nothing but fantasy, what else were the adults lying about? If that fat bearded man in a red suit was just a story, what about that all-powerful white-robed bearded guy who lived up in the sky? The seeds of doubt were planted by unsuspecting parents.

By lying to children about Santa Clause, do we teach them not to trust authority and to think for themselves? If so I will definitely lie to my daughter about Santa when the time comes.

Further Reading

2 Responses to “Santa makes children good?”

  1. Frank says:

    So, there is no Santa Clause? You just ruined my Christmas, becuase without him there is no reason to have Christmas!?! Next you’ll tell me there is no Easter Bunny.

  2. Patrick Fitzgerald says:

    Whoops, I should have put *spoiler* at the top of the article!

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