Friday, December 14, 2007

A Clauscientious Objector-Reason 3

The other day I found myself singing
Oh! You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I'm telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town!
He's making a list,
He's checking it twice,
He's gonna find out
who's naughty or nice.

This catchy Christmas song highlights some concerns I have with Santa. In this song Santa Claus is called to act like some type of omnipresent deity overseeing children making judgments on their rightness or wrongness. I am glad that he has such clear view and I wish he would share it with me when I am in the midst of parenting. But I am left with questions. What does Santa think is right and wrong anyway and do I really want my kids to think of him as someone who administers justice? My problem is that in the end Santa’s justice is a facile kind of justice. There is the threat of judgment (not receiving gifts) which is never enacted. I am told this is not a good look for a parent so why perpetuate it?

What is just as concerning is that being approved of by Santa, or being good, is a perquisite for a gift. If you don’t believe me stand in a shopping queue a day before Christmas and listen to the conversations with Children. I have lost count of the number of times my children have been asked if they have been good enough for Santa to visit. Of course added to which for many of us as parents the allure of saying “if you don’t behave Santa won’t come” is all too powerful and we find ourselves down the dead end street of manipulative parenting. Some ideas that come with Santa Claus are at the best dubious and at their worst manipulative. Reason 3 for being a Clauscientious objector.

What do you think?

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