Monday, December 15, 2008

Teacher Tells Class Santa Isn't Real

A substitute teacher in England told her class of seven-year-olds at Blackshaw Lane Primary School:

"it's your parents who leave out presents on Christmas Day" when excited youngsters got rowdy as they talked about Christmas.

The class of seven-year-olds at Blackshaw Lane Primary School, Royton, near Oldham, Greater Manchester burst into tears and told their parents when they got home.

The parents then complained about the incident and were sent a letter by the school saying the teacher has been disciplined over the gaffe.

"My lad was nearly in tears and so was everyone else in the class - especially as it was so close to Christmas. I thought it was wrong.

While I'm not defending the teachers actions, I must ask why there is no discussion of the rightness of lying to one's children about Santa Claus? My personal experience as a child when discovering the truth was one of anger and betrayal. It was a big lie, and I was taught you weren't supposed to lie.

This is not to say healthy fantasy play is a bad thing. But when children sit and watch Barney and he comes alive when they pretend, they know he isn't real. They know they are pretending, just like they know the Grinch isn't real. They don't know Santa isn't real.

I suspect Santa is just a little god to hold the place in the children's minds and make the idea of powerful magic men all the more palatable. After all, if Santa can get all around the world in a few hours, rising from the dead after three days should be a piece of cake. Too bad the teacher didn't tell the kiddies that Jesus wasn't born in December, and that there's no reason to believe he was anything but a man like everyone else.


Anonymous said...

This is interesting. I think you're right to focus on the lying.

Parents should not be lying to their kids!!!


memphisto said...

notedscholar, I'm almost surprised that you aren't proving the existence of Santa over at your blog.

But seriously, folks, I remember when my college roommate was about to get married. The Christmas before the ceremony they got into an almost deal-breaking argument over whether Christmas presents should be opened on Christmas eve or Christmas morning. Both were adamant that there was a "right" way to do it. They came to me and asked me to mediate. After hearing their arguments I decided to ask a question I had always wondered about: Why perpetuate the Santa Claus myth at all? Didn't they feel that lying to their kids was a bad thing and detrimental to their credibility. Wasn't it better to teach their children that Christmas was a time when people expressed their love for each other by exchanging gifts?

My question worked better than I ever could have hoped. They were immediately in agreement. It didn't matter when they opened presents. What really mattered was attacking me for daring to question that Santa might be a bad idea in the long run.

I think you are right. Santa is Jesus-lite.

ScienceAvenger said...

That's a great story Mephisto, I don't think I would have been as fast on my feet.