Seeds of Doubt

December 27, 2007

At any time, my blog seems to have between 10 and 20 regular readers. For some of those regular readers, it’s probably not the most enticing and endearing reading, particularly for the half or so who are conservative Christians.

The ones who stick around allow quite a bit of slack for our daughter being in a relationship with another woman and for adopting her partner’s child, who calls my daughter Mama and her birth mother Mommy.

It probably does not help either that my wife and I gradually let our daughter know as she was growing up that we regarded the idea that Jesus was born of a virgin, rose from the dead, and was the Son of God as a myth. Not only that, but we regarded Santa Claus as a myth also, though we let our daughter make up her own mind about Santa.

As Random Granddaughter’s imagination has developed, her ability to tell stories and role play has increased as well. Mommy (my daughter’s partner) has talked to RG about “pretend” and “real” information in her conversations.

On Christmas Eve, RG talked about Santa Claus.

“Is Santa Claus real or pretend?” Mommy asked her.

“Real,” RG answered.

Last year, the Barely Extended Family had a small vegetable garden in back of their little house in the medium-sized city. RG planted some green beans. Although she has some difficulty with the idea of vegetables as edible food, she did eat the green beans she grew and now considers green beans to be tolerable food; though she still has doubts about yellow wax beans. (Well, do you eat beans made of wax?)

We’ll see what happens with the seeds of doubt Mommy may have planted about Santa Claus.

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7 Responses to “Seeds of Doubt”

  1. NObody Says:

    you do know who I am, as I left the same email on purpose, only changing the name to Nobody, mainly because there is no body when we talk over the net, and secondly because most are a pretend names here anyway. ( I guess because no one gets pay and it is all for free, or is it lack of courage?)

    what is a pretend or real? are we as adult confusing the children even more with Santa?
    what is the myth and what is the truth, especially when media mix fiction with reality, movies seems to contain both. I am totally confused and can not imagine what a child of any age might feel one day.

    One thing is for sure, tolerance of any religion and beliefs is essential, especially of the ones that do not believe at all or do not know what to believe.
    Have you seen the Planet Earth documentary? it is beatiful.
    I think that Life is easier to go thru when one believes in something.
    Good day

  2. modestypress Says:

    Hi Nobody,

    I real all the comments people leave. Sometimes I don’t have a really good reply.

    No matter what we believe, life is difficult to go through.


  3. I think that much could be said about the differences among literal truth, emotional truth, and effective truth. Graham Greene explored those ideas in his fiction far better than I would be able to do even if I left the world’s longest comment.

    I suppose sometimes I wonder about the perceived value of literal truth, if we ever know what that is. And I have the same questions about things that are real and pretend. I like to think that we may have the capacity to change our reality based on what we believe. I realize I’m a piss-poor example of my own theory, but hey, theoreticians theorize, they don’t practice. Reality and pretend-ness are somewhat arbitrary, I think.

    For example, what do we really teach children when we teach them (if “teach” is the right word) to believe in Santa Claus? Are we perpetrating a mildly shameful hoax, or are we instilling an idea that the world may be inexplicably benevolent and giving? And if it is the latter, does some echo of that idea remain even after the child discovers that Santa was really his or her parents (or guardians or whatever)? Probably that echo does remain; some small shadow of the concept that the world can be randomly munificent … because that is the myth, of course, that the world will reward us for being good.

    But I don’t have anything to say about yellow wax beans.

  4. modestypress Says:

    My prejudice is toward “truthiness,” difficult as that is to recognize and evaluate. This is in part because as a child I felt obliged to hide my “real” self as not worthy.

    RG seems to be an extraordinarily innocent and honest child so far, though she is learning to say what she thinks adults want to hear. I think we should encourage her honesty as much as we can and encourage her to look at the world realistically as much as we can, and help her build the strength to deal with the inevitable shocks and pain the world will inflict on her.

    Hey, it’s easy. Nothing to it. As all of us have learned.

  5. cheles Says:

    Back home in Vaasa Finland, Santa or how we call him- Jolupukki (pronounced Yo-loo-poo-ki), was IT. I mean really IT. No one messed with Jolupukki. Back home in my mothers village, Jolupukki never wore red and white but Elk skins and fur or burlap and fur for his trim. One Christmas, when Jolupukki eventually made it to her families door, a loud crash and bang could be heard as he dropped his huge burlap sack and banged on the door accompanied with a burly, Ho-Ho-Ho! At this particular Christmas, mom immediately took note how Jolupukki staggered in the house kinda funny. He also had nice, rosy red cheeks. His breath! Jolupukki’s breath smelled terrible when she had to go up to him to speak with him and accept her gift. Everyone in the village was always extremely nice to Jolupukki, especially the men in her family. She observed them serving Santa plenty of steaming hot clear liquid in a mug telling Santa that, “He needs to be nice and warmed up for his long ski trip around the village.” An hour later, four men were especially kind enough to help Santa retrieve his burlap sack and help him out the door when he was finished giving gifts. Outside, two men would help Santa to stand up, while the other two men put on Santa’s very rustic looking ski’s and hand him his poles. They were also very helpful to point Santa in the right direction. It cannot be denied: Jolupukki could be one scary creature let me tell you. Mom has observed him many a Christmas administering the Birch twig to the flank of a naughty child. If they were only a little bit naughty, he could call the child up and give him or her, a rock.

    How’s that for one child’s memory of Santa? Mom tells me that she likes our North American Jolupukki much better because he’s a whole lot less scarier! I thought I would share this little story with you. Happy Holidays to you and yours, Hugs!

  6. cheles Says:

    P.S.: I still have doubts about yellow wax beans. I’m on RG’s side…….lol.


  7. It amuses me that this post starts out discussing the validity of Jesus, and ends with the validity of Santa Claus. I remember having a conversation with an eight year old as to whether “pretend” and “fake” are the same thing. I have decided that they’re not. Not that I believe in Santa.


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