General Question

zephyr826's avatar

Is it important to believe in the bunny?...

Asked by zephyr826 (5600points) March 17th, 2009

or Santa, etc.
When I was growing up, we never believed in any mythological gift-bearing creatures. My parents told us that we got gifts because we were loved, not based upon some arbitrary right-or-wrong points system. It was important not to share this information with other little kids, but that was pretty much it.

I recently got married, and my husband and I have been discussing the issue on and off about what we’ll do with our (currently hypothetical) children. he grew up in a Santa family and feels it’s very important for children to have that experience. I’ve always felt that the disappointment and disillusionment felt was worse than the sense of wonder, but maybe I’m way off-base. What do you all think?

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31 Answers

Mr_M's avatar

I’m the ONLY one in the universe who feels this way: Santa is entertainment for the ADULTS and not the kids.

SpatzieLover's avatar

<sobbing> What do you mean mythological?

SpatzieLover's avatar

A leprechaun came to our home today. My 3 yr old is still excited about the trinkets he left!

marinelife's avatar

I think that your parents kept you from some of the magic of childhood. The rituals of Christmas, Easter and the Tooth Fairy with the dressing up, decorating, making special foods are great fun for children.

It is not bad for adults to re-experience the magical possibilities of life through the eyes of a child either.

My question to you is what benefit was there in not believing?

casheroo's avatar

My parents never did any of it for any religious reason, they did it for the innocence of my brother and I. My husband and I plan on doing the same for our children.
My husband still tells the story of when he found our Santa was his parents, he cried and asked his parents “So it was you who bought those presents for me?” Which made his mother cry because he was very appreciative of what she had given him over the years.
Of course theirs disappointment. That’s part of growing up to.

Aethelwine's avatar

I see no harm in letting your children believe in fairytales for such a short time in their lives. It gives lasting memories and traditions that families can pass down to the next generation.

I would think that it may be more upsetting for a child to feel left out on all the fun, witnessing his/her friends enjoying the experience, than it would to finally find out the truth. Though I could be wrong.

Mr_M's avatar

My feeling is, how much fun is “the man” when most kids are SCARED of him? And parents get a kick out of this fear. If we didn’t have Santa, then the kids who’s parents couldn’t afford Santa wouldn’t feel bad when he doesn’t come. Now they think they’ve been bad. And what about when Santa gives the kid next door better toys? The first kid thinks he’s been bad?

Aethelwine's avatar

@Mr_M I’ll admit that you just made some very good points. Some parents really do go overboard at Christmas and it really makes it hard on the kids that hardly get anything, if anything at all.

dynamicduo's avatar

I support the position of not believing in all mythological creatures, including Santa and the Easter Bunny, amongst others. Sadly I will not be having children to pass on this logic to, and it is not my right to dramatically influence other children. It’s the same thing as a spoiler alert for a movie.

Mr_M's avatar

Don’t get me wrong. I did the Santa thing with my daughter. Got the outfit and everything. She vomited every year I did it. Why do we do it? We do it, for US. And if I had another kid, I’d do it again. Why?

Aethelwine's avatar

@Mr_M I’ve got to disagree with your point about most children being afraid of Santa. I also don’t think that parents get a kick out of this fear.

Mr_M's avatar

@jonsblond . no? Then why are so many Santa pics taken with the child on Santa’s knee, CRYING??? If parents didn’t like it, they wouldn’t take the pic.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Mr_M I’ve seen plenty of smiling children in these pictures. I’m sure some are afraid, but I think that most of the crying children are just too young to understand and are probably exhausted from standing in a long line to see the magical dude.

Mr_M's avatar

How could a kid NOT be afraid? Santa violates everything we teach a child. A stranger is allowed to come into our homes during the night and we let him? We WANT the child to sit on the stranger’s knee? It’s confusing to the child.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Mr_M For a baby or toddler, I agree. I’m thinking about four and five year olds.

Mr_M's avatar

The moral of the story is, I question what we so readily do when it comes to Santa.

Aethelwine's avatar

Now it’s time for a Guinness. Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Mr_M's avatar

Erin go bragh! Wanna make out?

Aethelwine's avatar

Now leprechauns, those are scary!

Mr_M's avatar

@jonsblond , and carnies.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Mr_M we don’t teach that Santa is a stranger. He’s a Saint in our home.

wundayatta's avatar

Oh God. Mythology? Belief? Innocence? What kind of hornet’s nest have you guys stirred up without knowing it?

Let me start with this: think about Barbie. Think about Disney movies. At least adults are pretty clear in their belief that Santa and the Easter Bunny are “myths.” Frankly, I don’t think adults know myths from their behinds. If myths are everywhere, of what importance is it to debunk, or not, the myths of our children? What importance is it to protect their innocence, when we have no idea how innocent we are?

Myths are everywhere. Myths are ideas that are represented by particular stories. There is the myth of the United States. It’s not that the US is fictitious; it’s that many of the things we beleive comprise the US exist to a greater or lesser extent. We have the myth of freedom, and liberty. We have a flag that symbolizes it all. We have Presidents and other freedom fighters of various kinds as mythic models for our kids. What we tell kids about Washington and Lincoln is just as mythic as what we tell them about the Easter Bunny.

Do any of you know what the Easter Bunny is really about? I don’t mean what he’s supposed to be about—the religious or commercial or fun loving things; what is he really about? I don’t have an answer for you, because I haven’t thought about it that much.

What about Santa Claus? He’s easier for me, because I have thought about him. Sure, the guy with reindeer that can fly doesn’t exist. The guy who can travel faster than the speed of light (how fast he’d have to travel to get to every child in the world in one night) without burning up doesn’t exist. But I would argue that that’s not Santa Claus.

Santa Claus is a spirit: a spirit of giving; of taking care; of helping children, especially the less fortunate ones. He is one representative of the idea of Christmas. And that, as far as I’m concerned, never goes away. It does exist. If I think of it that way, then Santa does exist, and always will, as long as there are people who want to be kind at a cruel time of year.

Barbie? Disney? Here are they things that don’t exist, but most adults believe they do. Barbie is the emblem of some kind of perfect woman for girls to grow into. Unattainable, of course—that’s why she was recently given a bodily makeover. Still, she stands for something that doesn’t really exist. The meaning of Barbie is powerful, and adults believe in it.

The same with Disney. Perhaps it’s clearer here. Disney has any number of princesses in any number of fairy tales which they have presented in cartoon, in period, and in modernized versions. They have the myth of the sidekick. They myth of the character who is isolated and always discovers something that enables him to win the race against great odds. They tell this story over and over in a variety of ways. It’s almost the only story they tell.

And it’s a myth. It doesn’t exist. Joseph Campbell would call it the hero myth. What it really is—is a way to structure a story. Life does not have convenient beginnings and endings. We turn things into stories by artificially assigning beginnings and endings. The idea of a story is a myth. How many people recognize that fact, or the fact that we are employing myths all the time?

Innocence? I wonder who is really innocent? We encourage children to play with Barbie and go to Disney movies, but we expect them to “grow up” at a certain time, and recognize things that are real and things that aren’t.

Well, I’m here to tell you that that is not as easy as you think. We all believe we can tell the difference, but we are ignoring a lot of inconvenient information. We underestimate the extent to which we mythologize our lives, but call it reality.

I think we should learn from our kids. Real or not real is not the issue. The kids know how blurry the line between reality and myth is. Parents worrying over when to tell, or if to tell about reality or myth are missing the point. What is important is the underlying feeling, not the reality. We tell kids the Easter Bunny is a myth, but not that Disney stories are a myth, yet both are equally fictitious.

Innocence? I don’t know what it is, or why we need to preserve it. We seem to do a damn good job of preserving our own innocence, and there is no problem in doing that! We don’t need to worry. Really. As far as I can tell, our kids are way ahead of us as far as the Easter Bunny is concerned.

mangeons's avatar

For the sake of the children! It gives them joy on special holidays, to have a jolly red man or a fuzzy white bunny leave them candy and toys. I stopped believing around 4th grade.

mangeons's avatar

Bravo Daloon, you said it all. Believe it or not, I actually took the time to read the whole thing, and you know how lazy I am! You are one of the most intelligent and insightful people on this site, in my honest opinion. I say again, bravo!

mangeons's avatar

No, thank you for your wonderful answers. Really. :)

SpatzieLover's avatar

@daloon Perfect! Every word of it!

elijah's avatar

We did it because it was fun. Plain and simple.
My kids were excited when they found out, they felt grown up and were in on the secret. They were not allowed to tell the “little” kids.

row4food's avatar

When my mom told me about Santa, she asked me to keep the magic alive for my little brother and cousins. The magic is what it’s all about.

I’m 23 and she still wrote “From Santa” on the tags this year. She used to have a family friend write out the tags when we were young so we wouldn’t recognize the handwriting. I very much intend to keep the magic alive for my future children. I truly believe that the years of wonder far outweighs the moment of disappointment, especially knowing that I can pass the wonder on.

*Santa may have been a magical spirit, but the Easter Bunny is real and always came to my house… my mom’s name is Bunny :P

btko's avatar

Growing up we new Santa wasn’t real but it was still fun. It doesn’t have to have any meaning behind it. I think we need to move away from the materialism of it all but the spirit of it can stay the same.

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