The evening before Xmas is always a fun one. I normally get dinner with my best friends, then pick up my son from his Aunt's house (where he opens mounds and mounds of presents), then go home. This year, as we were walking with my son's father to the car, my son happened to look up into the sky and saw a red light blinking, followed by a couple of bright white lights. No doubt, it was probably a small plane, but my son proudly proclaimed that it was Santa. I have to admit, if I were his age, I would think it was Santa as well. The leading, blinking red light could've very well been Rudolph. It was a nice sight and my son was truly happy that he saw Santa fly over. It was 10 pm by then and he was worried that we wouldn't beat Santa home and that if he didn't hurry home and get to bed Santa wouldn't come.
Santa came, of course, and got him a few things he wanted (a little less than last year, due to Santa being hit by the economic depression, but good gifts, nonetheless). What this made me think of, however, is that at what age do kids stop believing? I know that a few of his friends don't believe, but that may be due to the fact that they have older brothers. As for my son, I'm pretty sure he still believes, though may be starting to doubt. Now the question is, do parents let their kids down ever, or do they let them figure it out for themselves, regardless of what age they are?
My roomie was telling me a story about her niece and nephew who still believe at ages 11 and 13. So staunch is their belief in St. Nick that they will have verbal arguments with their friends over if Santa is real or not. Their mom was having trouble deciding if she should deliberately slip up this year so they would catch on that Santa is not real. Is that right to do? I'm not sure. I suppose after a certain age, one should break it to their kids, but I like the idea of having so much faith in someone, though again, that brings to mind Jonestown and Charles Manson. Belief is what drove their followers to do what they did. Christianity is also like that-- belief in God and Jesus is so strong that people will kill in their names. Allah also brings about that kind of fervent following.
It kind of makes you wonder if belief is a good thing. I can see how good morals and ethics benefit from these beliefs. But, when we begin taking away rights due to the "Word" being the "Word", as in nothing can change it, then we get into trouble. I believe that the Bible, the Torah and any other book written and taken as Word was meant to be a guide, not an instruction manual. It was why we were given free will, right? It's a tools on where to begin, but we can interpret how we want to and take the good things about these books and use them to shape ourselves into better people. I don't believe they are meant to tell us who to be, or more importantly, how to be.
Santa Claus is a good example. The belief in him inspires children to be "nice" rather than "naughty". The only problem with that is that it's a bribe-- you get material things for being good, and not so fun things (coal, nothing) if you're naughty. But, as far as I know, no one has killed for Santa Claus yet.
Just a few cookies to nibble on for this holiday season. See ya later, kiddos!