Am I alone?? (Some religious thoughts included) - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-22-2007, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure if this is even the right forum to express this but I think I'll take the chance...

Am I alone in this? Am I the only mother out there that does not "lie" to her child? I'm talking about santa, the tooth fairy, easter bunny, and puppy heaven. Almost everyone I come across thinks I'm nuts. We are religious and that makes a difference in how we handle these events BUT so many people think we take them to the extreme. We don't do halloween at all. We don't put anyone down who does it but we don't do it. We do Christmas but we don't do santa. Angelica knows where the santa story comes from and how it all got started. She has the reindeer and snowman movies. We color pictures of gifts, santa, and his helpers. But she knows the truth about santa. Same with the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy. The other night at a big family dinner my daughter asked where Spaz (my sister's hamster) was. My mom and sisters response was, "Spaz died and he went to animal heaven." That was when I started to choke on my avocado salad...I said something along the lines of..."It's nice to think about sweet places like animal heaven but they don't exist. It was fun to have Spaz here with us but when animals die they don't go to heaven. Only people who have accepted the Lord into...." you see where I'm going with this...Angelica took it very well and went about her business. While the adults picked their jaws up off the floor. I retold this story to my closest friend and her response was, "You need to let the girl live a little. Don't suck all of her childhood away. Just back off." Um...is that what I'm doing?? Is making the world out to be a place filled with cotton candy clouds the way to go? I personally believe that my child has the ability to accept a lot of deep information as long as it is presented to her in a way that she can understand. Am I alone? Are there no other parents out there who parent in similar ways? Jeez, It's not like I broke her crayons and told her to get a job...She still has a childhood! Just curious...Thanks!

Elizabeth
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Old 04-22-2007, 09:42 PM
 
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We don't tell our kids stories about santa or anything either. Though animals is a grey area to us. I know the Bible does talk about there being animals in Heaven, so I just don't know, which is what we have told the children.

One of my coworkers said, "But your kids NEED the Easter Bunny. Tell them he's Jesus' helper and goes around helping spread the Good News." I almost pooped my pants! What - the good news that sugar rots your teeth? Please!

Tamara: hs'ing Christian mom of five here and five in Heaven. Joyfully awaiting Punkin, coming mid-Sept!
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Old 04-22-2007, 09:56 PM
 
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... I know the Bible does talk about there being animals in Heaven, so I just don't know, which is what we have told the children.
Really? I'd be very curious to hear what it says.
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Old 04-22-2007, 09:59 PM
 
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We don't do any of that either. Actually, we were shopping with our then almost 3 yr old DS around the holidays and Santa walked right by. You could tell he was waiting for our DS to go crazy for him and all my son did was look the other way. I was SO PROUD! He couldn't have cared less.

I will say, though, that we do believe all living things to on to a better place...be it heaven or whatever, so I wouldn't necessarily say that we tell our kids that pets dont' go to heaven. Does that make any sense? Since animals are of the Lord, given by the Lord and are not sentient beings to have a choice to love/accept the Lord then I don't see how they aren't allowed to live with the Lord after their earthly lives. That's just how we explain things to our kids.
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:02 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Earthly_Joys;7922747]I'm not sure if this is even the right forum to express this but I think I'll take the chance...

Am I alone in this? Am I the only mother out there that does not "lie" to her child? I'm talking about santa, the tooth fairy, easter bunny, and puppy heaven.

We do santa, the tooth fairy etc... I kind have wish we wouldn't have though. I always tell my son to tell the truth and sometimes I feel like I am lying to him. I wish I would have told him these are fun things we like to pretend at ..Or a game we all like to play.. I don't think your "Nuts" or anything you are doing is wrong and I think other people need to respect that, that is what works for your family...
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:12 PM
 
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We don't do any of those either and never have. Our kids are very bright and wouldn't have swallowed any of it, even at age 2. We are also Christians and think there is enough REAL "magic" out there.

Knowing there is no Dog heaven helps us appreiate and care for our pets as it is. We're now involved in a cat rescue since the kids figured out animals don't have souls the way we do.

I don't think it's bad parenting, though you will get alot of flack probably. WE deal with it easily: the kids know about all these myths and are gracious to the grandparents (mine!) that assume they believe it them, as well as the other kids we know that do. They know not to spoil the surprize of their peers from a very young age.

Carrie, The Birthteacher CCE and Doula, real mom to five; and womb-mom to G. born at 23w by emergency C. 12/09
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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I was raised in a family that did not do any of the fun childhood things and put a huge emphasis on their spin to all holidays. I do feel like I was deprived of a fun childhood although there were other reasons to it as well. My dh grew up with all the fun stuff and our children are being encouraged to enjoy the magic of being children. Of course neither of us now identify as anything near the religion we were raised in. We do also celebrate all the holidays and their very important roots of honoring the earth and all living things. For us Halloween is a very important time and our observance is more like the Harvest festivals I see so many churches having then the craziness teenagers get up to.

Kristina mom to A 1/12 J 11/05 D 4/08 and tiny dude in late April 2010
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:33 PM
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I was raised that way. It wasn't a positive experience.

I do think telling your kid that her pet won't go to heaven is over the top and mean. JMO.

You don't know it for a fact.
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:50 PM
 
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there is no need to be judgemental, or hurtful in your responses. tacking "JMO" onto the end of that sort of statement doesn't make it any nicer.

and if she's a Christian and read it in the Bible (as I did) that does make it a fact.

Carrie, The Birthteacher CCE and Doula, real mom to five; and womb-mom to G. born at 23w by emergency C. 12/09
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:56 PM
 
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We have never told our children that these are real people. They all know about santa, tooth fairy, easter bunny, etc. We've never lied to them, we always try very hard to be honest with them. However, our children also know that there are lots of people who do believe, at least to a certain extent in such figures. We've just said that it's fun to pretend, as long as you know what the real meaning behind the holiday is. If they want to pretend that santa puts presents under the tree or fills their stockings, that's ok. If they want to pretend that the tooth fairy took their tooth and left a quarter, that's ok, too. As long as they know the truth about it, I'm ok with pretending.

I can't say for certain sure whether or not animals will be in heaven, I don't think the Bible is perfectly clear one way or the other. I've told my children that, and that if they want to think of their pets in heaven, it's ok. I think the Lord will correct us if it's really that big an issue when we get there.

Mostly, I just want my children to know the truth, to be respectful of people who choose to celebrate and believe otherwise, to feel free to pretend as long as they need to. I think it's an area with a lot of gray.
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Old 04-22-2007, 11:07 PM
 
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Well, we're Jewish, and we attend synagogue but are not terribly observant. I'm very straight forward with my dd about our thoughts about life and death (and that some people have a different idea about it.) We talked about the tooth fairy, and we "play" tooth fairy. She knows it's me, but still wants to go through the ritual. I opted against pretending the tooth fairy was real because of concerns about lying, and a very real concern that dd would be afraid of the tooth fairy sneaking around our house while she was asleep. :-)

So, though I have a different take on faith and religion than you, I also am a big believer in not lying to my kids. I explain things in terms I think dd can understand (mental illness is "something wrong with a person's brain," death is when "your body stops working and the doctors can't fix it.") Interestingly, I think she's much less frightened by things because I've given her realistic explanations. For example, at my aunt's funeral, she saw the casket (closed) and said "Aunt Karen is in there... right?" No drama -- she didn't find it traumatic, just found it to be a fact.

-Michelle
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Old 04-22-2007, 11:11 PM
 
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Moving to Spirituality

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Old 04-22-2007, 11:23 PM
 
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There are many threads about this around Christmas each year. I won't lie either, and yes I did get some flak about it from other people. It is a lie, IMO, to tell a child that a man will enter their home via a chimney (etc) and leave them gifts. It is a lie to say that a big bunny will leave them a basket of goodies. Unless I truly believe those things it is a lie. We just don't do it. I answered any questions and explained what I believed honestly.

Halloween is a religious observance for me so they are familiar with both the more secular traditions that Halloween has come to involve and the spiritual associations. I celebrate the spring equinox rather than Easter and the winter solstice rather than Christmas, but the kids know all about those days too. We gather with extended family for secular Christmas gift exchanges and food.

My Dad and others don't really get it, but such is life. I also wouldn't let someone lie my kids about "snipe hunting", watermelon or apple seeds sprouting in your tummy, and etc. That kind of thing really bothers me.

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Old 04-22-2007, 11:55 PM
 
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I used to go all out to make Santa and stuff as real as possible.

But I just don't feel right about it. So now we talk about how it's "fun" but don't go to any lengths at all to disguise that it's us.

I'm mostly uncomfortable telling our children there is an omniscent (sp) being other than our God.
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:04 AM
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I won't go into the animal thing because I think God reserves a special place for our animal friends so let's leave it at that

On the Easter bunny, santa, tooth fairy front -- we don't lie about that either -- our daughter already knows santa is make believe and I expect she will have a blast at Christmas -- we do celebrate *secular* along with religious, but we don't present it as being real -- this easter we did the egg hunt thing and my mom got her a basket with little things (no food, things like playdough etc) but it was from Grandmom, not a bunny

A few people have mumbled a few words of disapproval but oh well, I don't give a hoot really -- my mom sort of expressed the "aww but it's fun as a kid" type things when dd was way little (like newborn age) but we were gentle but firm about it and there was no talk of bunnies or santas this year (dd is nearly 2).
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Old 04-23-2007, 01:55 AM
 
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Seeing as I'm a Heathen, I actually consider mythical and folk figures such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy to be quite as real and legitimate as the Gods, House-wights, land-spirits, etc. So while not in an overt literal guy-coming-down-the-chimney way, I do think Santa Claus/Father Christmas/St. Nick/Father Yule/etc. is real, he is the spirit of the Yuletide season of giving and sharing and renewing hope in the darkest time of the year.

Of course, many of the things you believe in as a Christian I don't and will not teach my child to believe in them, either. Like eternal damnation, original sin, or that animals have no souls.

Neither of us is lying to our kids. We are both passing on our religious/spiritual beliefs and traditions in the way we see fit. Which is as it should be.

breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling Heathen parent to my little Wanderer, 7 1/2 , and baby Elf-stone, 3/11!

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Old 04-23-2007, 02:20 AM
 
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Really? I'd be very curious to hear what it says.
Well, Isaiah 11:6 says "The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them."

I haven't seen predators and prey lying about together down here yet.

I don't know if there will be animals in Heaven, but I don't think the Bible definitively says there won't. We'll see.

Tamara: hs'ing Christian mom of five here and five in Heaven. Joyfully awaiting Punkin, coming mid-Sept!
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Old 04-23-2007, 02:35 AM
 
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There are many threads about this around Christmas each year. I won't lie either, and yes I did get some flak about it from other people. It is a lie, IMO, to tell a child that a man will enter their home via a chimney (etc) and leave them gifts. It is a lie to say that a big bunny will leave them a basket of goodies. Unless I truly believe those things it is a lie. We just don't do it. I answered any questions and explained what I believed honestly.
Same here.
I am obsessively honest with my ds.
I tell ds that Santa/Easter bunny/etc are pretend. So ds is a part of "pretending Santa." He has a hat that has a ball on it, and he calls it his "Santa hat" so he wears it and pretend he is Santa. lol.

I did tell him that our dog that recently died did go to "puppy dog heaven." I'm not positive that that's true, but imo, it's just as likely true as untrue (in my beliefs). I dunno. Maybe I just said it because it makes *me* feel better.
It doesn't really matter though. Ds still talks about Brooke as though she's still here. lol.

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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Old 04-23-2007, 02:37 AM
 
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Ok I am plugging my ears and singing "la la la la la la" to anything that says my Lila is not in Cat Heaven eating all the tuna she can eat and laying in sunny spots all day

BUT....

I think the Santa, etc, thing is sort of a "gray area"... I think he's a representation of the Christmas Spirit, the spirit of giving and love and joy that we are filled with that time of year. I believe in him!!

I am not a mama yet, but when I have kids I think I would do Santa, but maybe explain it a different way? I think it's just so magical that it really transcends the idea of "does he or doesn't he?" exist. Am I making any sense at all?

However, the Easter Bunny is just plain stupid, IMO, and the Tooth Fairy is fun to pretend but I probably wouldn't tell them she was real.
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Old 04-23-2007, 02:44 AM
 
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I am totally cool with presenting these characters as "the spirit of giving/love/sharing". I can definitely believe in that. It's telling the kids that "He comes tonight to leave you presents!" or "The bunny left you treats" that I can't handle.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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Old 04-23-2007, 05:15 AM
 
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Well, Isaiah 11:6 says "The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them."

I haven't seen predators and prey lying about together down here yet.

I don't know if there will be animals in Heaven, but I don't think the Bible definitively says there won't. We'll see.
You think the Bible is talking about real animals there? I think most people think that passage is talking about different types of people/personalities led by Christ. I suppose the Bible could be speaking literally here, but then it really doesn't mean much.
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Old 04-23-2007, 05:17 AM
 
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No animal heaven?! Wah!

DH and I talk about heaven regularly, even though neither of us really believes it exists as a concrete place where "souls" literally "go," as if they were traveling to Toledo. It just comforts us to imagine our stillborn daughter as she might have been in life, and the concept of "heaven" gives us a culturally-shared, familiar structure to talk about what she might have been like and how she was when she was still with us.

Ditto for our deceased animals. It is comforting to have a concept that allows my imagination to freely and creatively explore the memory of how they were in life, without constantly bemoaning the fact that they are not with us anymore. Allows them to live in my memory. Maybe that is heaven.

"I bet Penelope is fat and glossy and munching on yogies up there. And fighting with all the other ferrets! Givin' em all a lot of sass!"

So. Do I "believe" in all that stuff?

No.

And yes.

I hope to pass on that kind of philosophical idea of heaven to my kids-- but I think a lot of young children have to pass through sort of a Taking It All Very Literally phase before they can get to that spiritual-creative place. To me, that's not lying; that's laying a concrete kid-friendly simplified foundation for them to improvise on in later years.

I would be really disappointed if they got stuck on any sort of bare-bones literal interpretation of my religious and cultural ideas, though!

That would defeat the whole purpose! But I guess that some folks do get stuck there.
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Old 04-23-2007, 05:22 AM
 
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I suppose the Bible could be speaking literally here, but then it really doesn't mean much.
Forest? All I see is a whole lot of freakin' trees!
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Old 04-23-2007, 05:37 AM
 
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My dd1 straight up asked me if Santa was real after reading Santa stories and seeing it everywear at Christmastime...I said, "No, Baby, he just pretend...but it's fun to pretend"

I am a Christian and I think that if I told her he was real and then she found out later that he was not she might wonder if I lied about God too!

Besides, I teach her that lying is wrong, and for me to tell her that something is real that I know is not real would most definately be a lie!

I think there is still lots of fun in the holidays to pretend about Santa and Easter Bunny....I always had fun as a kid and we knew the truth...my Grandma believed there was a Santa and when she learned the truth at 12 she said she was devistated!
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Old 04-23-2007, 10:45 AM
 
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we don't do the easter bunny, and we have yet to have a reason to do the tooth fairy but will also not be doing that in the future. we talk about santa in the same way that we talk about other fictional characters. we've never mentioned that santa has actually come into our home (i think that would freak out our sensitive 4yo son). he's got the most amazing imagination and i'm pretty sure that our conversations about that kind of thing are placed on the same mental shelf as the rest of his cool stories that live in his head.

as for animal heaven, well, i believe in an afterlife that includes all living things so while i don't think i'd call it "heaven" perse, i do believe in a spiritual afterlife for all animals.
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:07 PM
 
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The Bible does not give any specific teaching on whether pets / animals have “souls” or whether pets / animals will be in heaven. However, we can take some general Scriptural principles and shed some light on the subject. The Bible states that both man (Genesis 2:7) and animals (Genesis 1:30; 6:17; 7:15,22) have the breath of life. The primary difference between human beings and animals is that man is made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Animals are not made in the image and likeness of God. Being made in the image and likeness of God means that human being are like God, capable of spirituality, with mind, emotion, and will - and - have an aspect of being that continues after death. If pets / animals do have a “soul” or immaterial aspect, it must therefore be of a different and lesser "quality." This difference probably means that pet / animal “souls” do not carry on after death.



Another factor to consider in this question is that God did create animals as a part of His creative process in Genesis. God created the animals and said they were good (Genesis 1:25). Therefore, there is no reason why there could not be animals on the new earth (Revelation 21:1). There will most definitely be animals during the millennial kingdom (Isaiah 11:6; 65:25). It is impossible to say definitively whether some of these animals might be pets we had while here on earth. We do know that God is just and that when we get to Heaven we will find ourselves in complete agreement with His decision on this issue, whatever it may be.
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:23 PM
 
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I won't tell my daughter that Santa, etc. are real. However, I'll try to tell her in a way that maintains the fun of all of that.

And I unquestionably wouldn't tell my daughter, "Oh, no, sorry, your pet is dead, suck it up. No, you'll never see your pet again, only humans get to go to heaven."
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:53 PM
 
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I think the Santa, etc, thing is sort of a "gray area"... I think he's a representation of the Christmas Spirit, the spirit of giving and love and joy that we are filled with that time of year. I believe in him!!
yeah, I think that Santa is a metaphor for giving without expectation of recieving anything back. Santa is cool and fun and we always leave him cookies, and he always fills stockings!

The tooth fairy leaves our kids money, and the easter bunny leaves them candy and money, and our kids are well aware that it is my DH and I doing all the this stuff, but it is all fun. Neither Dh or I are good liars and we are the least sneaky parents on the planet.

I grew up in a home with no Santa, no Easter bunny, etc. I think that if you have issues with these things, that you should give your kids the stuff and let them know it is from you.

You will not make your children love your god by telling them that they don't get an easter basket because that isn't what easter is all about it. It is, of course, great to teach your kids what you feel these holidays are really about, but they are just kids and it really wasn't fun as a child to know that all the other kids get stuff and that I didn't because of GOD.

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And I unquestionably wouldn't tell my daughter, "Oh, no, sorry, your pet is dead, suck it up. No, you'll never see your pet again, only humans get to go to heaven."

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 04-23-2007, 12:56 PM
 
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I haven't read any replies yet, but I have a problem lying to my kids about Santa/Easter Bunny/etc. I never thought about it until I actually had kids. And then it just felt wrong. Up until age 4 or so, we just didn't talk about Santa. But then my son was in pre-school and learned about it on his own. I lean more toward neither confirming nor denying the reality of Santa/Easter Bunny, rather than saying straight out that they are real or not. Though the other day I did end up telling my 5 year old straight out that the Easter Bunny isn't real. I did feel like I was depriving him of some fun and magic.

Recently I've wondered if there's something wrong with my conscience. For example, I feel like certain types of mystery shopping is lying. I have never run across anyone else who feels this way. Instead of making me feel like I'm more moral, it makes me wonder if something is wrong with me.
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Old 04-23-2007, 01:37 PM
 
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I'm sorry, but I just don't understand how you could consider perpetuating the myth of Santa/the Easter Bunny/the Tooth Fairy "lying"? To me, the term lying is synonymous with a certain amount of willful and (malevolent) deceit. Lying is a purposeful misrepresentation for ill-conceived reasons. I wouldn't consider being dismissive or contentious of my dd when she is a fairy or a superhero or an angel -- and at 3, there is a certain part of her that truly believes she is indeed all of these things. I am not a religious person (at least not in any traditional secular sense) and I apologize for what I am going to say, but saying it I am, nonetheless -- your belief in an actual God can be as emphatically proven or substantiated as someone else's belief in Santa Claus or water sprites or dryads or elves. You are simply taking what you've read in a book and choosing to believe there is a sentient being with creative and benevolent powers. You can cite the Bible as much as you'd like, but there is no empiric, conclusive, stand-up-in-a-court-of-law evidence to prove otherwise. I'm not trying to stir things up, we must each parent in accordance with our own hearts and souls, as long as the child's welfare and best interests are our principle guiding factors -- but to say Santa is an out-and-out LIE, but colorless, odorless, bodiless, invisible God is concretely real, just smacks of hypocrisy to me (and smacks my funny bone around a little, too -- sorry -- insert sheepish grin moniker). Like mostly everything in our spiritual lives, things are as we believe them to be. I don't think that stories about visits from the Easter Bunny comprise any more of a lie than stories of burning, talking bushes or of water turning to wine. We all follow what makes each of our individual lives happier and more fulfilling places to be (so long as it harm none -- including ourselves), and though I'm not 100% certain, I've a strong feeling, call it a hunch, that that is the way God (at least my God) intended it to be.
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