Wednesday, 23 December 2015

I Believe In Father Christmas!

An article appeared on The Conversation the other day, asking whether we should let children believe in Father Christmas? I don’t have children myself, but this is something I have thought about. As a sceptic and non-believer in anything (!) deemed ‘superstitious’ my logical brain tells me the answer should be NO.

However, I fondly remember as a child waiting for a glimpse of him on Christmas Eve. One year I thought I heard sleigh bells! I don’t remember when I found out he wasn’t real (apologies if that’s news to you). So I was either old enough to deal with it or it was so traumatic I blocked it out?!

Without that early belief would watching Christmas films as an adult be the same? The emotional and nostalgic feelings we have for our early Christmases can be comforting, during what can be a difficult time. The ‘magic’ of Christmas wouldn’t be the same if it was all about having to spend time with relatives (you avoided the rest of the year) or eating so much you felt sick.

If you substitute ‘Father Christmas’ for ‘God’ the above argument takes on a different perspective… Many commentators have said setting-up children to believe in superstitious thinking may lead to deficits in critical and scientific thinking later on.

For me, critical thinking is about questioning the status quo so it may actually help. Children are naturally curious and don’t always accept the Christmas myths without asking a few questions, e.g. How can Father Christmas get into our house if we don’t have a chimney?

I used to joke I believed in Father Christmas (but not ghosts or God) as it was obviously silly but he is no more ‘provable’ than other beings many accept as fact.

Anyway, it’ll soon be Christmas and I won’t have to think about it for another year… Maybe I’ll decide after I see what presents he’s got me.

Here’s the link to the article: The Conversation

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