santa died when my parents died, therefore my parents were santa.
and i always saw it as something extra the parent was, not something less or diminished from my own belief. therefore didn’t have to negate any understanding, just shifted the cause from unknown visitor in red suit to known parent in favorite pj’s.
it was not a large transition, for the deed was what counted. and i never thought upon the psychological ramifications of “being lied to.” because we “lie” to ourselves all the time within the framework of a simple understanding of reality. the more you learn, the less anything feels like a “lie.” more importantly— to create life into a solid block of unshakeable belief will only prevent very real gains in further comprehension.
we tend to then latch onto belief that correlates in similar ratios of probability for each reality; the percentage of unknowing is maintained since everything else shifts. therefore an early solidification of any belief will hamper possibilities for extended learning. point? children are built to be skeptical. when you say you are only as old as you feel, that is you still being skeptical. the divine nature of “wary. ”
or it is at least a greater percentage of wary, than what we like to call “innocence.” ( define innocence, i dare you. 🙂 )
what is the psychological impact of santa? why is knowing the truth a right of passage? because this tradition has become a way for the child to declare they are no longer a child. in a household with more than one child, does the eldest side with parents to perpetuate “santa-ology” …. or do they inform younger siblings? these decisions create a large part of who we are….. so the one downside i see regarding santa, is that the approach to secrets will widen differences between eldest, middle, and youngest child. but many other things factor into those differences, so an impact of santa is just one thing among many.
we have myth. we have religion. we have belief. all navigation tools…. the gauges on a dashboard as one navigates life. perhaps the beauty of santa is that it is a right of passage where the child themselves decide when they are ready.
many adults like to joke that they still believe in santa. or the easter bunny. these traditions play a large part in what becomes the body of a nation. and they will change, since most five year olds can and do have the capacity to google “is santa real? ”
so the psychology of our nation is going to change with that…. and we might want to put on our thinking caps to find some adequate replacements. but first must decide what role santa plays, and is that role indispensable? as the age for ‘knowing the truth’ becomes younger and younger, are we seeing a shift in the psychology of children in general? does it make them more wary or less wary?
plus with populations much larger than at the beginning of any of our traditions….. is it even possible to make large-scale changes so we can adapt better to current realities? not be a train crash that goes over a cliff, and bursts into fire, and drops into the ocean, and washes up on a shore as a lost civilization?
for what it’s worth, i think the pattern is not only natural but shows how adaptation itself has a synchronicity that not only won’t be denied, but will always save us from ourselves. so i have faith in that. sort of like how the keel of a boat will steady things as long as the ship doesn’t take on too much water.
then again, that is a convenient excuse. because creating change is scary…… “even the wise can’t see all ends. ” and so we either trust in the wisdom of our forbearers, or we trust in ourselves. in THIS generation. i couldn’t tell you why my money is on both.
my grandma put “from santa” on several gifts every year. even as we grew to be adults. it was her way of saying “you deserve this.” and that is then a foundation of a belief in inherent worth.
inherent worth is a necessity to capitalism. otherwise you all would have gone completely mad ages ago. when applied to the self, one has something that isn’t quite pride, isn’t quite innocence, isn’t quite faith. self worth is something you take with you….and belief in santa is more important for discovering an unbelief.
progress? maybe. and maybe santa will die a natural death over the course of history. or maybe we float it to symbolize all that qualified as failed orchestration of U. S. society and the cultural norms that define any nation.
one people under God? maybe. or maybe many people, under nothing. when it comes to the tradition of “making” children believe in santa claus, i find it quaint but absurdly selfish for that early establishment of parental power. because that is what motivates the perpetuation. something horrible in us turns into something good…. encouraging a lie inspires children to seek truth and knowledge the rest of their lives.
so that is the magic of christmas. even worst intentions can have good result.
in conclusion, i would like to say that santa does not represent learning to not believe in jesus. they don’t correlate enough and religious adhesion is a much more complicated thing.
like i believe santa is how much my grandma wanted to give me the world, when the world was taken from us with the death of our parents. i see that as beautiful, and somewhat tragic. not just as an expression of love, but in the tenacity to employ a change of tradition.
my generation is a generation almost paralyzed with the fear of ramifications. the one lesson we all received like a knock in the head…. was the one on consequence. and within that, have probably become the most ineffectual generation that ever lived. (with the most consequences from the action of indecision. )
and what will be the consequence of destroying the myth of santa via the information generation? very hard to predict, and fallout is ages away. for now, santa is real enough. we call it the magic of childhood…. but the real magic is keeping wonder and awe alive your entire life.