21 December 2006

When is lying OK?

This article in the Manchester Evening News has made me quite annoyed and maybe not for the reason you'd think.

Parents are annoyed because a vicar has allegedly told kids that Father Christmas isn't real. Whether he did actually say that or not is a moot point. However, I truly believe that it is fundamentally wrong to lie to your kids and make them believe in a fictional character, only to tell them some years later that you made it all up. After all, most normal people bring their kids up to tell the truth, don't they? So what gives parents the right to lie to their kids? Some kids are so upset by the revelation that they cease to trust their parents, because if they've lied about that, what else have they lied about?

Surely a far more sensible approach would be to teach them from the outset that the Father Christmas portrayed by many people in this world, is not the real Father Christmas, and teach them about the story of St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus, Christkind, or Kris Kringle, or whatever you happen to call him in your part of the world. Tell them that the original charitable gift-giver died many many years ago, and that people remember his kindness by dressing up and giving gifts to their loved ones. That way, they'll understand that the spirit of the deed is to be kind to one another, not to be money-grabbing little parasites.

Oops, sorry, got a bit carried away there. Um, er, Bah Humbug!


Oz said...

That was a bit anal for you Karen. Not being a parent I can only guess, but I think the genuine excitement that children feel at the prospect of Santa is worth the little white lies. I can't remember suddenly losing my faith in the world because I found out that Santa isn't real.

The next time that someone's child asks where babies come from, I think they should pass them to you. They'll be having nightmares for weeks. :-)

Womble said...

Of course it's anal. I have been a cynical bastard since I was about 15 and I don't like kids, I thought you knew that. My mate's daughter was utterly was devastated when she found out Santa didn't exist and I thought it was awful because she didn't understand why they'd lied to her and made her feel like a fool :o(