Monday, 29 December 2008
Guest post submitted by Alex_Horschack
I certainly believe in the spirit of giving. In fact, I'm characteristically preoccupied by it. I want more than anything to encourage empathetic humanism by setting an example and providing to those in need.
You'd think that I get all giddy every year once holiday toy drives roll around and donation stations are set up outside of every major grocery and retail outlet so that the underprivileged children of the world can wake up to presents under their trees left by Santa just like everybody else. But I don't.
I think that if you don't or you can't or you won't care about or think about or provide to the unfortunate and the destitute at any time of the year (and not just when corporate consumerism tells you to) then you shouldn't be in charge of telling the recipients of human kindness where their donations came from!
I don't at all like the idea of propagating a culture of expectation from the mysterious beyond. I think it's destructive to teach children that gifts will appear because a magical figure living in frigid isolation is capable of providing for all the world's children regardless of the fact that their parents are in the worst financial crunches of their lifetimes.
By recycling these myths for the sake of cuteness and tradition and offering a 'normal' childhood to their offspring, parents all over the country are eating their own words now that they can't back their sh*t up.
It's a terrible idea to let misguided but well-meaning donors continue to mislead these children into thinking there's always going to be a holiday safety net when there won't always be. It teaches dependence.
Whenever there is a holiday safety net providing for you though, I can tell you who's not responsible for it...Human beings care about human beings, Santa Claus does not.
I understand that children will grow up and eventually understand that Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Great Pumpkin are just fairy tales, but they'll have fond emotional memories of these cancerous fairy tales, and they'll pass them on to all of the children in their lives.
Teach children where their livelihood comes from... from other human beings who are concerned about them and care about them enough to reach out to them with provisions (be they parents or church organizers or complete strangers). Let's stop treating children like it will take them a lifetime to understand the ways of the world. If we treat them like they're capable of understanding, then they'll understand much more rapidly and much more fully. And they'll feel grateful for it. They'll feel respected and provided for and loved. I think that's a hell of a lot better way for our children to feel versus expectant and entitled.
I don't have a problem with holiday decorations and music and food and parties and togetherness and the things that originally made the winter holidays of any given culture so great. I'm not against the holiday spirit at all! But let's please take the fairy tales out of it and build stronger communities by giving credit where it's due: to each other.