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Brian Caulfield
Editor of Fathers for Good

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December 15, 2010

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Matthew

Why would anyone be opposed with telling the full truth to their children that Santa as such doesn't exist? Do we really think such a fable adds something to their life that without it there is a real loss? Christmas isn't about Santa. It isn't even about gift-giving or joy or any other of these things (even if they are apart of Christmas). But Christmas is of course about Christ. Everything we do during Advent and Christmas to celebrate this Solemnity should express that.

Further, while it is true that it is always evil to lie and so one should never lie, it doesn't follow that it is always ok to deceive which IS what is going on here. It is not clear that such deception, even if well-intentioned, is good. Children naturally trust their parents. When their parents deceive them (even without lying) they should feel betrayed. It is a sacred trust that ought not be taken so lightly. Faith is not simply a skill that one has but one ought to believe in something because it is true! So to teach someone to believe in something for any other reason that they think it is true seems dangerous (for children ought then to trust you less if you deceive them into believing in something false). I think we take this all too lightly and need to give serious thought to the proper relationship between children and parents and what responsibilities parents have to foster that relationship in such a way as to not destroy that proper trust since this trust is so closely tied to the responsibility to form one's children for Christ (including teaching them the faith).

ROHess

Well done, Brian. My wife and I have handled our children much the same way. We never came right out and claimed that there's no real Santa, but we never spoke a word confirming the story, either. And we've also found that we haven't needed to have 'the conversation' about Santa, either. Our older children totally understand the whole situation, and we anticipate it going the same way with our youngest, now in 1st grade.

Tom

Santa's not real?!?

James

My two youngest sons are 21 and 17. To them Santa is very real. Daniel had to go up and visit Santa three times at a Party the other day as he wants to visit. Yes, my sons are very special and so many after Mass will tell me how we inspire them because they are always happy. As I have told people it's not what I do for them it's what they do for me.

Mrs. R

I never told them there was a Santa!! (I did play along with the fun.)But I did tell them there was a God. I was aware of the problems it could bring when they eventually discovered the truth, and indeed the day arrived when one of my sons came in and was in tears, he had just made the discovery and he was in tears because I had lied to him!! And I just said to him I never lied and I never had.

Sdgully

Great post Brian.

Your way of handling it was great and I applaud you for sharing your experience.

For us, my daugther (now 13) really didn't officially hear from us until she was 12. She had doubts starting at 11 and we didn't continue to push the myth. Instead, we encouraged her to believe what she believed. Her friends were all telling her he didn't exist and we used it as a lesson of faith. Now, when she found out, she was OK with it and thanked us for all the years we used the myth to make Christmas not only a joyous religious holiday, but a fun one too.

My son is now 10...and when to tell them I do believe depends on the individual child. He's very much still believing. And this day and age where kids are invited to grow-up too fast, I like that he's clinging to something so innocent.

God bless.

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