Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Clauscientious Objector-Reason 2

"White lies". I have made a commitment not to lie to my children. Now I am not saying I have not lied to my Children or that at times I have been a little less full in my explanations of the truth. As a parent I have had to apologise for not being truthful. There is a difference though between imaginative play/fairytales and collusion between adults that leads to untruthfulness. Rituals like putting milk, cookies and a carrot out for the supersonic delivery sleigh are delightful rituals but have as their intention a desire to deliberately mislead by making the myth as believable as possible.

I have found that even though I am a Clauscientious objector many parents try to enlist my help and seem offended when I don’t join inthe "white lie". Older children are also enlisted to perpetuate untruthfulness so that younger children do not discover the truth about Santa. A number of adults I have spoken with vividly remember the moment when as children they revealed “too much” . The emotional turmoil that followed as a result of being in trouble for having told the truth, they tell me was a pivotal point in their development as a person.

In my view this embrace of untruthfulness only invites us into the world of mixed messages about the value of truthfulness. Perhaps I should just get over “white lies” but my conscience just won’t leave me alone.

Do you have a pivotal point story?


Keith said...

Hey there Roger, welcome to blogging world!

Interesting series of posts.

We started off not speaking of Santa, but found the culture we live in makes avoiding Santa basically impossible (and therefore creates a burden disproportionate to the benefit, IMHO).

I'm intrigued by your logic in this last post - does that mean you could never be a part of a surprise party, that had at its heart deception? If you were consistent, would you have to refuse to join in the 'white lie', especially if the person was someone fairly close to you and so needed to be distracted with another story for the surprise to actually work?

Be interested in your response.

btw, hope carols goes well!


Roger said...

Keith thanks for the welcome and being the first person to comment on my blog

To take your points in order
I guess the way we have approached it is that-we have always spoken of Santa –as you note it is hard not, we have just down played the whole thing and not encouraged any adoption of the culture that goes with it-have always talked openly about the fact that he is like a fairy tale- snow white and the seven dwarfs come to mind. If they have received a gift from Santa we have said things like “the people who own the shopping centre are being generous this year”.

To be honest I find the surprise party thing difficult for exactly the reason you point out. Having said this I wonder whether the two different intents matter? The Santa deception has no desire to be revealed or end point of revelation. The truth is only revealed by parents who conscience trouble them or by accident and even then often denied. The surprise party has as it’s intent the delaying of revelation-revealing the truth is always the intention.

Not sure why I started a blog in these weeks! Hope your carols go well- looks fantastic-and your the right man for it!