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Post 20

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 11:30amSanction this postReply
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Scott,

So much for my potential career in stand-up comedy. I guess I'll stick to my day job. Then again, reading your responses, I would never have guessed you to be an advocate of silliness. I thought that was more Regi's and Jeremy's thing.

Jeff,

I have seen most of the first UFC's, along with other mixed-martial art competitions while I was stationed in Japan, and I had those in mind when I wrote my post. My own personal experience sparring against other Marines reinforces that.




Post 21

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 11:36amSanction this postReply
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Byron, Jeff,

I find the "eye-scratch / hair-pull / groin-kick" method works best.  Or throw your shoe at their face and run away screaming like a little girl with a skinned knee.   Eeeeeee!!!




Post 22

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 11:42amSanction this postReply
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See what I mean?



Post 23

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 12:27pmSanction this postReply
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I don't think children are traumatized one way or the other. I don't think parents are horrible if they do the Santa thing, I just don't see a need for it. I did turn out okay, but doesn't mean it was due to many things in my life, but in spite of them. As someone mentioned, the question is, why would you want them to believe in Santa? Isn't the holiday fun enough? Don't you still enjoy it as an adult, even though you no longer believe in Santa? 

It may not traumatize them, but is that our goal? Or is our goal to be someone they can come to and ask questions and trust they'll get honest answers from? (or at least know we try to answer honestly, parents can be wrong too - that's not telling an untruth). It's amazing how many time kids will ask their parents if Santa is real, and parents say "yes! of course, don't you believe??" 

Now as Regi did say correctly, up to a certain point children do not know the difference between fiction and reality. My mom tells stories of how I used to chase the geese in the park trying to sit on them, because in her stories the swan always took us to a kingdom in the clouds! :) I also used to think the movies were real until my mom explained. And when I believed in Santa, I used to stay up for hours because my mom would tell me "he sees you when you're sleeping..." I was terrified! And I see my little sister do the same. Around Christmas she would get sooo frightened when you told her Santa was coming into the house that night.

That's a whole aside, what's best for children to discover as they're growing up. I think pretend is extremely important, and studies have shown because children pretend less these days (because toys are more advanced & detailed, while we often played with plain boxes that were race cars we sat in) their creativity is different.

-Elizabeth




Post 24

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 1:00pmSanction this postReply
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Regi's comment "Do you regard all fiction as lying? Do you think pretending is lying?" was not just a question, it was a response to another person's question. Therefore, it had implications. To me it implied that if you've engaged in fiction or pretend, that you are guilty of lying as well. If you think it was misunderstood, clarify. But I took it exactly as Mr. Glombowski did and don't think his comments were off the wall.

And I would say that "because if you had called them liars, it would have been the last thing you called anybody." definitely sounds like a threat to me! You don't have to actually fear for your life for something to be a threat. But based on your description of them, they certainly do sound intelligent and imaginative!

Not for nothing, but Santa is not real. You know he is not real, if you choose to tell your children that he is real, for whatever reasons, it is still a lie. You may think it's justified, or you may call everyone in the world a liar, but you are not pretending or using their imagination, you are misleading them with reality. Mr. Glombowski put it in that context and said "Telling a child that Santa exists in an out right lie...." He never uses the word liar, he never said anything inaccurate, so why take such offense to that?

-Elizabeth




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Post 25

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 3:13pmSanction this postReply
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Besides, I own a black-belt in Choi Kwang-do ...
 
Thank you for the information about your wardrobe. I personally own several black belts, some brown ones, and other assorted colors, and I keep mine right here in my closet. Where is Choi Kwang-do?
Choi Kwang-do is a rivulet off the Mekong Delta. I left some shoes there myself after John Kerry (who-has-three-Purple-Hearts) and I were captured by the Viet Kong. One thing about Charlie: he likes to accesorize.




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Post 26

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 4:05pmSanction this postReply
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I have 4 children. (2 mine, 2 step.) We always had lights and presents and a great big turkey dinner, but I never said a word about santa to my kids. We went to the playgroup parties and made the cookies etc. I did not want my kids to be excluded from fun. They were each between 7 and 9 when they began to question the whole santa thing. One by one they asked me point blank if santa was real. I told them that I was not a Christian and that santa was a Christian thing. They each asked why the lights, presents, and dinner, so I told them the truth. The winter solstice is the shortest, darkest most dreary day of the year, I like the lights, and I thought that it was worth a party and presents even though I am not religious. I also asked then not to spoil it for the little kids that do believe. We have plenty of friends who belong to different religions and so not all the kids that they knew talked about santa anyway. The winter solstice is a special day for the entire planet marking the seasons etc. so I went with that. (I also make a little party for the longest day. (No, I’m not a wiccan, I just like to party :D) My children’s biological father is VERY Christian so I had to tread carefully. I asked him not to drag the kids into church until they turn 16 or show me proof that they have studied all the major religions in the world before picking one if they felt the need. (I have full custody.) They have not been baptized. I have always told my kids the truth when asked and answered all their questions as appropriate to their age level. I have NEVER, EVER, told them what to believe, instead I have encouraged them to examine all the facts and make up their own minds. I am always truthful when asked what I think.  They are now 13 to 19 and none of them show signs of scaring from the news that santa is not real.



Post 27

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 4:10pmSanction this postReply
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Sorry my post came out really big! (blush) Didn't mean to shout.



Post 28

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 5:10pmSanction this postReply
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Belladonna,

No need to blush.

Hit the edit, just above your post on the left. Select everything, and "bold" it (it will unbold.) Of course you do still have this other post explaining what you didn't do.

Edit that one too, and explain your explanations.

Then....

Oh, forget it. I thought I was helping.

Liked your post though.

Regi




Post 29

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 6:06pmSanction this postReply
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Elizabeth,

Well, since you insist on taking the serious side of this life and death, future of the whole world, issue, I must address your guote of Mr. Glooomandoombowzer (or is it Stolyarov the III), whatever.

You quoted the poor abused fellow thus: "Telling a child that Santa exists in an out right lie."

Now I have lived a long time, longer than you and the new Mr. "G." together, I suspect, and in all that time I have never heard anyone say to a child, "yes, Fremont, Santa Claus really does exist." Oh I've read the "Yes Virginia," thing, but the was a newspaper writer, and not even children believe them.

Nobody in the whole world really tries to deceive children into believing there really is a Santa Claus. Anyone who equates the Santa Claus thing with attempting to make children believe a falsehood is living in a different world than than you and I live in. If my having a little fun with someone who takes these absurdities a little too seriously, ....tough!

You are usually very level headed and realistic, Elizabeth, and I am assuming you are taking the side of our newcomer, because you are sympathetic to those who are just getting their feet wet. I am too, actually. Maybe it will encourage him to realize he has already face the worst threat he will find here. Was it really that bad?

[I just erased two paragraphs of explanation. I do not explain.]

Thanks for the comments.

Regi




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Post 30

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 7:32pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Regi!

Just curious, why do you say Mr. G is Solyarov III? I haven't been around much latley b/c of work, might have missed something!

But I guess I just didn't see anything that he said that was wrong. He believes in telling children the truth, but other than that he thought you were implying (rightly or not rightly, not sure) that reading a fictional story is the same as leading your kids to believe in something that doesn't exist intentionally. And no matter what he said, you did tell him first your family would beat him up if he'd said that to them! But yes, this should be the worst it gets. Poor new guy. I'd take a black belt in anything myself! I think everyone else posting is just jealous. ;)

 Anyone who equates the Santa Claus thing with attempting to make children believe a falsehood is living in a different world than than you and I live in.
But I don't understand what they're trying to do then. They're telling them someone exists that doesn't. You're not telling them some story from the past, you're telling them that some almost omniscient man with supernatural speed and unlimited money for toys is who brings them toys Christmas morning. To me, that is altering their world.

But...

Nobody in the whole world really tries to deceive children into believing there really is a Santa Claus.

I think I'd disagree here, though. For me, my parents always came up with excuses when I questioned a part of the story. It becomes this big story where along the way you make up more stories to keep them convinced.  Each time I come close to knowing there's no santa, I'm told I'm just missing something! And others parents did the same. I definitely remember. For example "you have no chimney? well, he comes in the window... no one can go to every house in one night? the reindeer are magical..." and so on.

And, you'll laugh at this one, my best friend's mom growing up told her late about everything in life. For the longest time, as my friend started to question Santa, her mom fought every which way to keep her believing. No idea why. One Christmas, when she wasn't falling for it anymore, her mom hired some guy (or had a family friend come) dressed up as Santa & wake my best friend up to show her that Santa wasn't either of her parents because all 3 were in the room. Poor girl... :)

Okay, enough with Santa!!! Good night, if you can fall asleep with the fat guy watching you! It's way past my bedtime. (though for some it's morning i suppose)

-Elizabeth




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Post 31

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 8:49pmSanction this postReply
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Elizabeth,

Regi referred to Mr. Glombowski as Stolyarov III because, like Mr. G. Stolyarov II:

1. They both have names of Eastern European origin that can be manipulated in interesting ways (e.g. Stoly).
2. They take issues that some may call trivial so seriously that they to get worked up about it (or at least that is how others may perceive them).
3. They do not get Regi's sense of humor, which I happen to enjoy tremendously

These are also why Regi refers to Mr. Glombowski as Mr. Gloom-and-doom-ski. :-)

More seriously, though I do agree with you and Mr. Glombowski about not encouraging children to believe in Santa, I do think Regi's statement about "nobody in the whole world" is nothing more than hyperbole. I am sure the majority of parents do not go out of their way to tell their children that Santa exists metaphysically rather than symbolically . . . but, as you pointed out, there are always exceptions to the rule. Even so, there is little harm in it because, unlike organized religion, children abandon that myth as they mature. If I ever do have children, of course, I see no reason for me to teach them that there is a jolly, old fat man who really lives in the North Pole.

As for the "threat" and the "black belt" thing, I am sorry for taking advantage of a newbie but that exchange was too rich for words! With regards to the former, I saw it as no more a threat than me saying "I'm going to kill you!" after my little brothers do something not to my liking. I am sure how one interprets a statement depends on context, a problem magnified on the internet where we cannot perceive body language and tone of voice. With regards to the latter, I happened to have studied different "styles" of the martial arts since I was 12. Martial arts is a way of life for me. Having said that, after some research and much experience (in tournaments and on the street) I have discovered that the majority of martial arts styles are not very effective or practical. The diamonds in the sand are the styles that teach you how to grapple from any position. Training or no training, rules or no rules, in tournaments or on the street, opponents in the majority of fights end up grappling each other more often than not. I am also skeptical of any system that has a colored belt system. Such systems base "promotions" on demonstrations of "katas" or "forms", which are kind of like a dance routine but the dance steps are punches and kicks that are often difficult to perform without much agility and flexibility. As my idol Bruce Lee said, "a kick to the head makes as much sense as a punch to the foot". Sorry for hijacking that part of your thread but this topic is of much interest to me.

Byron

(Edited by Byron Garcia on 7/21, 8:52pm)




Post 32

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 9:34pmSanction this postReply
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Greetings.

Oddly enough, I believed in Santa Claus (or "Grandfather Frost," as the atheists in the Soviet Union called him) until the age of ten. My parents desperately wanted to keep me believing, even after all of my childhood friends told me, in whispers typically reserved for dirty sayings, that he was not real. As if it were a dirty saying, I was always shocked, because my parents did hire a Grandfather Frost for me once.

The reason why I stopped believing in him was based more on cross-cultural ties than on my outright recognition of the falsehood. I came to America at age nine, and saw quite a difference in the way the holidays were observed. In Russia, even today, presents are given at New Year, not Christmas. Moreover, there is great emfasis on the fact that the secular Grandfather Frost is not the religious Santa Claus. (He even has a granddaughter, Snowgirl, who alone is supposed to be worth all the elves on the North Pole, and was perhaps engineered as a symbol of gender-egalitarianism in the USSR).  I had already begun to doubt how two jolly old immortal giftgivers could exist simultaneously, so I decided to verify the proposition. I informed my parents that I expect Santa Claus to give me gifts at Christmas and Grandfather Frost to give me gifts on New Year's. Only one of these took place. Then I began to get really suspicious...

Perhaps believing in Santa Claus involves a similar element of religious fervor as believing in God. It becomes quite difficult to do when one seriously considers which God to believe in.

That said, I would not inform any hypothetical G. Stolyarov III of the reality of Santa Claus. I agree with Mr. Glombowski that there is no point in spreading a falsehood for its own sake, especially when many children (as I can attest to from my own experience) become rather zealous about it. Nevertheless, I also realize that this is not a life-or-death matter.

As for martial arts, I have a yellow belt in karate, which I received during my middle school years, due to my desire to learn basic defense skills against a drug-addicted hooligan who lived in my neighborhood and constantly threatened to steal my bike and beat me up. But reality has its way of resolving these matters without armed conflict. About three years later, I heard that this bully has been arrested, sent to a special school, and put under house arrest. At the age of sixteen, he already was said to suffer horrible withdrawal symptoms, and is likely dead now. I still have my yellow belt, and my karate training did help me begin a fitness routine that I continue to this day. I may not be a fighter (I would not hurt a fly, literally!), but I do not regret getting the basic training that I did.

I am
G. Stolyarov II
Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917 
Eden against the Colossus
The Prologue: http://www.geocities.com/rationalargumentator/eac_prologue.html

Chapter I: Protector's Summons: http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/eac_chapter1.html

Order Eden against the Colossus at http://www.lulu.com/content/63699.

(Edited by G. Stolyarov II on 7/21, 9:53pm)




Post 33

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 9:15amSanction this postReply
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Greetings, all.

 

This bleating about what a lie Santa Claus is reminds me of those Bible-beaters who make sure their children know Santa is a fraud, lest believing in him corrupt the little ones’ understanding of the true meaning of Christmas.  Odd how Objectivism drives some to mimic the dreariest behavior of humorless religious fanatics.

 

Moreover, I think this shows the deficiency of the Objectivist account of childhood.  Children are not adults in miniature.  They should not be denied their childhood.  They’ll get to the adult world soon enough with all its rewards and responsibilities.  Meanwhile, let them have fantasies that only in the innocence of childhood can be fully enjoyed.  Better to believe in Santa at eight than to think you’re some magic elf in a Dungeons & Dragons game at twenty-eight.

 

Also, children are not retarded adults.  They do not need to be lead by an adult to the truth each and every time.  They can, and should be permitted to, find out about things on their own.  Similar to the experiences related by Regi and Mr. Stolyarov, I figured out by myself that Santa was not real – and I was quite proud of myself for sorting that out on my own.  I was also proud of the adult responsibility I assumed to not spoil the secret of Santa for my younger brother and sister.

 

To disabuse a child of a belief in Santa Claus strikes me as overly controlling.  Only an ideologue could want to keep a child’s mind swept so cleanly of “lies”.  There is also something disturbingly Manichaean about reducing everything that is not literally true to a lie.  It is certainly a simplification of the real world that a child can more readily grasp, but how does it prepare him to deal with the complexity that actually exists around him?  The principle behind identifying Santa Claus as a lie makes the mind too brittle.  There is the danger that the mind trained upon that principle cannot absorb apparent contradictions in observation before resolving the unifying truth behind them.  Thus a Manichaean mind rationalizes or blanks out to evade that which cannot be neatly categorized as either truth or lie.

 

Besides, what better way to get the little bastards to settle down when the snow starts flying than to threaten you’ll drop the dime on them with Santa? ;)

 

Regards,
Bill



Post 34

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 6:15amSanction this postReply
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My daughter believes in Santa Claus. It helps make christmas a special time at her age.
It adds to the fun and generousity that this celebration should represent.

 If she asks she will get the truth but until she does ....




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Post 35

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 7:25amSanction this postReply
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I had children, but I sold them to buy Christmas presents for myself.



Post 36

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 9:50amSanction this postReply
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LOL - yes we need a free market in children. Right now the government price controls ($0) are grossly limiting production and redistribution. And since we've all read The Ultimate Resource 2, we know that the more people the better.



Post 37

Friday, July 23, 2004 - 3:13amSanction this postReply
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Hi Byron! Thanks for clarifying! And I didn't say I wanted a black belt for self-defense reasons or because I'd be so strong then. It was for what you said, it requires the agility and flexibility that I don't possess! So technically I could say I want to be a ballerina too, but really I just want to be more flexible and stable! :) And it seems I misread Regi's post, probably as you said I didn't get his humor. But now that it's been clarified as such, I will go with it!

No worries about hijacking this thread, there's only so much you can say about Santa! And strays are usually interesting anyways.

As for my experience with children, not having my own and Santa aside, I have no trouble building their imagination and role playing with them to keep them excited, happy and using their creativity. I won't say I've never lied to them, but usually after a few minutes of fun (more for my own fun likely) and them guessing at what's real and if I'm making it up, I do tell them they're right. I've never used any fictional character to try to get them to behave. Money, yes, but not a fictional character. As I said before, just my first thoughts on this. Not that it's right or wrong, but that it's not necessary. Then again not every adult tells the truth, so maybe you're better prepping them for the real world and having them double guess everything? Who knows. Enjoy your weekends!

-Elizabeth




Post 38

Friday, July 23, 2004 - 8:30amSanction this postReply
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Scott, Regi, Bill,

Thank you! Thank you for being the voices of sanity. I pity those who are so emotionless and anal retentive as to forbid their children the joy of believing in Santa Claus on philosophical grounds. Like Bill, I recognize that children are not simply adults-in-training. Childhood is a unique period of wonder and innocence, and once it's gone, it can never be regained. Why not make this time as fun and magical for them as you can? Myths such as Santa Claus add to the mystery and magic of life that are so exciting for a child. I'm not saying you are doing your child a great disservice by denying them this particular myth, but to those who would deprive your children any belief in the magical and unreal, I say bollox on all of you! I am forever grateful to my parents for letting me believe in Santa.

Oh, and as I see it, there is developmental value in having your children believe these myths. It teaches them at an early age that there is value in questioning, and potentially rejecting their own long-held beliefs. Far too many people in this world are unwilling or unable to do that, and it has caused conflict and bloodshed throughout history.




Post 39

Friday, July 23, 2004 - 11:52amSanction this postReply
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Gordon,

Speaking for the insane, I think you can give children the magic and mystery of myth without having to deceive them into believing something is real when you know it is not. Fiction can be enjoyed, with the suspension of disbelief, without going around thinking that the events described are fact. I played "Cops and Robbers" as a child without for a moment thinking I was really Officer Garcia of the metropolitan police department. I am not sure why why you imply innocence is a virtue whose loss is to lamented when you also say (and rightly so) that there is value in questioning every belief, even long-held beliefs, and rejecting them if they prove to be false. For me, the greatest wonder was when I first received a telescope, a microscope, and a chemistry set as gifts for Christmas and learnt to use them to discover the world around me (I forget which gift was for which year) . . . not in thinking some jolly, old fat man gave me those gifts (which I never did by the way). I found even as a child that there is more "magic" in learning about science than there is in all the fairy tales in the world.

Byron, The Voice of Insanity
(Edited by Byron Garcia on 7/23, 12:24pm)




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