Santa Claus: Myth or Lie?

At The Secular Outpost, Jeffery Jay Lowder has a brief blog piece about Tom Flynn, the Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, and some of the reasons Flynn puts forth about why parents should not tell their children that there is a Santa Claus.

Of particular note are Flynn’s claims that parents “lie” in order to “perpetuate” the myth about Santa, that such “deceptions” lay “traps” for children’s intellectual development and, as a result, promote “unhealthy” fear along with selfishness and acquisitive attitudes among children.

Seriously?!?!?!

Lowder notes that Flynn’s presentation is imbued with “considerable humor”; so, perhaps – and let us hope – that humor is meant to be found in the pseudo-science (to be charitable in characterizing whatever non-sense there is) that is purported to actually support the notion that the Santa Claus myth is to be held in disdain and assuredly avoided.

Do parents “lie” to their children when they tell them tales about Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, or the Ugly Duckling?

Of course not.

If nothing else, myths, stories, and tales are critical – indeed, they are absolutely necessary – to the development of imagination and, therefore, the fullest flourishing of the intellect.

Contrary to Flynn’s (humorous?) assertion – or has it yet attained the status of myth itself? – that the Santa Claus story “encourages lazy parenting”, the shortcomings in parenting come not from the use of such tales; rather, any inadequacies in parenting that there might be come about as a result of parents’ failures to eventually tailor lessons to be had from such stories, including the Santa Claus myth.

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