My husband was recently in a conversation with a co-worker, and it somehow came up that her 3 boys, aged between 11-15 still believe in the Easter Bunny. I was absolutely flabbergasted. In addition, of course, they also believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, and presumably every far-fetched fairy tale we’ve invented to go with every holiday.
One of the online groups I’m part of ironically posted a question today that asked, “How old do you think is too old to be believing in Santa, Easter Bunny, etc.” My response to that question is “as soon as the kid is capable of rational thought.” I was shocked by how many people responded, “no age is too old.”
Really?? So believing in Santa when you’re 20 years old is perfectly fine? Why is that fine?? Why are we perfectly willing to accept and promote gullibility?
Some comments I frequently hear are:
– Santa is just the name for the “feeling” of magic
– the holiday is more fun with the magic of the Easter Bunny
– kids are innocent, why take that away, let them believe as long as possible
I call bullshit. What this does is preps our kids to be willing to accept something without any reason other than “somebody told me so.” Holidays are in no way diminished by my girls’ lack of belief in a fairy tale origin for the holiday. They don’t miss it because they were never taught to believe in it. They just enjoy the holiday for what it is….an opportunity to take some time off school and shove as much chocolate into their faces as possible….isn’t that what it’s really about for kids anyway?
You may say, what’s the big deal here? Why am I so upset about kids believing in a bit of fun and magic? It just happens to be a pet peeve of mine, that I get told I’m taking my kids’ innocence away because I don’t promote these crappy stories. And I think it sets kids up for a willingness to accept things on faith. Not just little things either – ridiculous things. A bunny that delivers chocolate to all the kids for Easter? A fairy that takes your nasty dead teeth and leaves money in it’s place?
Don’t get me wrong, I give presents, and chocolate and all that stuff. I just don’t claim that something else did it. They know the presents are from me, or their grandparents, or whoever else. How does that make the anticipation of treats any less special?