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July 25, 2007

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Just a question - how would your daughter view you if she finds out that they really are "figments of imagination"? And compares that with Jesus Christ our risen Lord when she realises that you've been speaking of Santa and our Lord with the same implicit attitude that they both do exist?

I ask this in all honesty as I cannot see how this will work out - and if we do have a way to make this approach work out, it'll make things so much easier.

Thanks for the question, Kean. And this is not a small concern either, but a very important question that I was hoping someone would ask.

First, modernism (and postmodernism for that matter) has made us unable to talk to our children about the distinction between the facility of our imaginations versus the objects of our imaginations. I am trying to preserve the former while defining the latter.

As for how to present this to my children, I think that we underestimate our children's ability to put together the pieces of imaginative thinking. Jesus was a man like we were. He lived and worked and had a family. Santa lives in the world of "make believe." He is a part of our imaginations in a way in which Jesus is not. I simply want to carve out in my children's thinking a more nuanced way of using the word "real."

Practically speaking, when I told my daughter that she was right ("The Easter Bunny is, in fact, your parents...") she understood me right off. In other words, I'm not trying to confuse her and she is sophisticated enough to know that Daddy is saying something other than "Jesus is make-believe too." In other words, I am trying to make another point to her that will, hopefully, be preserved as she reads good books, as she enjoys the natural world around her, and as she goes to school and learns.

Hope this helps...

les

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