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Fantasy or Reality, Childhood Tales

08 Mar

children

Daily Prompt: Fantasy The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .): a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?

As a grandmother now, I find myself looking at things a little differently than when I was just the parent. I’m not sure if it’s because I was a single parent and try as I might to raise my children the way I wanted to raise them I ended up overly influenced by my own parents and grandparents. That’s the way it goes though. When we’re young we promise ourselves, “I won’t do that to my child,” or “I swear I’ll never say that to my child,” but we often end up doing just that. I did it. I didn’t want to do it, I railed my fists against the wall trying not to do it, but eventually I found myself doing just what I said I wouldn’t do. Not with everything, but with some things. Before you have a child you don’t fully understand, but once you do things change. Your perspective changes, your values become deeper, your own thoughts and opinions about things before said child become questioned and you realize that sometimes just because things have been done a certain way doesn’t mean that is the right way.

mom's fav sayings

My daughter is breastfeeding my grandson. I tried with my daughter but wasn’t able to for more than about 5 weeks. My grandson is a healthy, happy little boy who has not been sick yet. Yet people told asked her quite often why she was breastfeeding? And now they are asking her why she really doesn’t want to use jarred baby food and instead wants to make her own. I’m proud of her. She’s doing things not out of tradition but she’s actually thinking about what is best for her child. Some traditions she’s keeping, other’s she’s thrown out the window. We haven’t talked about Santa, or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny yet. I have no idea of whether she’ll stick with tradition or not, and as I think about the prompt I find myself wondering if maybe the traditions haven’t evolved into what they are but should be more about what they originally were.

Centuries ago in Europe the tooth fairy tradition was quite different. When a child lost a tooth it was buried in the ground so that a new tooth would grow in its place. The reason the tooth was buried in the ground was due to superstition–so a witch wouldn’t/couldn’t get the tooth and place a curse on the child. When people migrated from farms or small towns into cities they would bury the tooth in a potted plant or something else. Eventually it began to be put under the pillow and a coin or candy would be left. The tale of the tooth fairy became an explanation and the tooth fairy tale was born. (Found at:http://www.thesmilestones.com/toothfairyhistory.htm )

I know about some of the history of Santa Clause. St Nick or St Nicholas was a priest who gave gifts to children and he gave them late at night. I believe it was in Asia Minor.  He didn’t want to be seen giving the gifts and told the children that in order to get the gifts they needed to be asleep. St. Nicholas became a bishop, and eventually became the saint of children.

Now the Easter Bunny I looked up, like I did with the tooth fairy, and it was originally a pagan festival. the festival Eastre. Christian converts came and decided it would be better to convert the “pagans” slowly. Funny, how that works. Eventually the holidays of the Christians and the Pagans were merged and you can check it out here: http://www.phancypages.com/newsletter/ZNewsletter2599.htm.

I think that telling children the truth with a touch of imagination/fantasy is probably the best option. What is Christmas? Why do we celebrate it? What are your family traditions? I told my children the real story of St. Nicholas. I told them about Santa Clause. I also told them about Jesus’ birth. We lit a candle ever Christmas Eve in celebration of Jesus’ birth. I think that telling children blatant lies is wrong. Children are much smarter than we give them credit for. But letting them, prompting them, to use their imaginations isn’t wrong. There’s a fine line between out right lying to them and letting them use their imaginations. Tell them the truth and give them the tools to use their imaginations and you’ll be surprised, I think .At least I was. My son knew what gravity was and understood it at 5 years old, and he knew that the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Clause were us (me, my mom and dad), instead of thinking we were liars he chose to believe that his Papa (my dad) who has a beard and looks a lot like Santa Clause was actually his very own personal Santa Clause. How’s that for truth and fantasy blended together?

 

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