The first thing Anthony said to me this morning after his “good morning hug:”
“Mom, is Santa real?”
It’s not Christmas, or anywhere near it, so exactly what prompted this question is beyond me. The dilemma was before me regardless: lie, or tell the truth.
After explaining to my four year old that, no, there was no such thing as flying reindeer or magical elves with rosy cheeks. Saint Nicholas, Santa’s real name, was just a very kind and generous man who, like everyone does someday, died a very long time ago.
He stared at me, with his big chocolate eyes, and his bottom lip frowned slightly.
I felt my heart break a little as his eyes became teary.
I wondered to myself as I handed him his bowl of cheerios, why exactly do parents put ourselves in this situation?
Why do we create this illusion for our children and insist it is truth when we know it is false?
In today’s society, genuine faith is not only questioned, but it is looked down upon. The idea of believing in something we cannot see or touch or even always explain is laughable. Absolute truth is ridiculous.
Our generation is a product of a society that trained us to doubt and question. We trusted our parents and were fed fantasy as though it were fact. From the Easter Bunny to the Tooth Fairy we have been taught that faith is childish, and has no place in a mature, adult mind. That believing in anything only leads to heartache and disappointment.
Lies, even “white lies,” cause damage to any relationship with an adult. Why would we think the fragile relationship between a parent and child would be exempt to that?
We deceive these naive and trusting little ones and wonder why they grow up to be cynical, angry and fearful.
It’s not that I want to appear judgmental, my problem is not in bringing joy to boys and girls hearts. Fairy tales are beautiful parts of childhood. It’s presenting a fairytale as fact that causes such damage and distrust.
Wouldn’t it be better to teach our kids to believe in things of substance? To have faith in the One Person that wont ever let them down?
Wouldn’t it be better for them to place their trust and hope and joy in something real?
For after all, even the best intentions can produce the worst outcomes…