When I was a kid, I believed in Santa Clause for way too long. I think I may have not given up on the man until about the age of 11. Although, I cannot say that I was completely bamboozled by the hoax, it was more or less something I maintained to make my mother happy. It wasn’t until my older brother humiliated me in front of my cousin by telling her that I still believed in such silliness that I broke down and said I didn’t believe. Peer pressure to believe in the guy, peer pressure to relinquish that belief. Being a kid is so complicated.
As for God, when I was a child, I attended church with my family every Sunday. I often found the stories to be illogical and often offensive even at a young age. I also distanced myself from those Christians,that I attended church with, because they were snobbish and total hypocrites. In fact, most people I have come across, that are of the religious variety, have been pretty insufferable. But that is my experience, I would never generalize that all people who have a religious belief are bad, or unintelligent. When I was 15, my cousin who was the same age, was killed in accident while riding a quad. This was an accident that put him in the hospital for weeks, it was a situation that led us to think that he would come out of the hospital and continue to his life, but that didn’t happen. It was at that moment that I realized the entire prospect of God was more than illogical, it was a crock.
My children are fresh with all of this and so there are always people around us that try to imprint them early. My mother goes to church every Sunday, doesn’t believe in evolution, but still cannot argue or even give any support to why she believes what she believes. Since I am someone who likes to argue, or rather, have a nice healthy debate, it is rather maddening. She is one of those people who blissfully float through life with a smile on her face despite all the worries or injustices in her life. But it’s okay, I understand that her way of dealing with things in life is to avoid any negativity. But sometimes her lack of logic baffles me. When my father was living with me, and also attending church every Sunday, my grandmother suggested to him that he take my son to church. She then told me that my kids need to attend church. Here’s the tricky element to all of that, my grandmother is very religious and hates people who are atheists. For years, I have implied that I am agnostic, but she chooses to ignore that fact, although she also dislikes me for unknown reasons, perhaps that is the reason. In all fairness, I am an atheist but prefer to tell people I am agnostic to eliminate any immediate disdain. Also, when you suggest being an atheist, there are a few uneducated types that like to refer to you as a Satanist, which makes absolutely no sense.
At this juncture, I really have no plans on instilling such things to my children, especially since I don’t believe them myself. That would make me a christian…I mean, Hypocrite! But if my kids do question me about other religions, or even want to attend church with their friends, I would never deny them.
Now about the other imaginary friend we reflect on during the holidays, Santa Clause. Since my kids are really young, I tend to mock the idea of Santa Clause when my mother is present. This is something that makes her more furious than Jesus mocking. Telling her that I don’t want to take the kids to sit on Santa’s lap is like murdering Hello Kitty in front of her. But let’s be honest, every instance of sitting on Santa’s lap ends in horror and tears, so why torture these poor kids? There is almost a sick pleasure that comes from parents who continue to do it.
A few years back, when I was pregnant with my son, I remember having a conversation with a friend in which he said he would never let his son believe in Santa. Now this guy is a staunch atheist and a very rational thinking guy. In my hormonal thinking, it made me furious that he thought this way, how dare he deny his child such whimsy? Upon reflection, I realized it wasn’t that big of a deal.
In retrospect, I think I am fine playing the Santa thing for, at least, a little while. As soon as there are logical questions that arise like, “Mom, how come the kids down the street get more presents than me even though I was good all year and they light the end of cat’s tails for fun?” I will not try to cover any tracks, “It’s simple, I don’t make as much money as the parents down the street and there is no Santa, also those little bastards aren’t going to rot in hell for torturing animals because there is no hell, but they will probably end up in prison.” Well the last part may be a bit of embellishment in my response, but I have time to work on it.