“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Albert Einstein
Are all lies bad?
When I think back to childhood my most cherished memories are of lying in bed Christmas Eve, painting eggs for the Easter bunny, putting a white tooth under a soft pillow, running across bridges so trolls would not bite my feet. It was not the gifts or shiny silver ten pence’s that I looked forward to, but that flutter of excitement and the uncomplicated, unbridled delight.
Looking back, I feel so blessed to have had such a childhood, many do not. I watched the film Matilda and for a few weeks I believed, as certain as the sun will rise, that if I tried really hard I could make things dance with my mind. Of course I couldn’t but I gave it a darned good try. Mum had an easy summer as I spent it staring really hard at my teddies.
And, like all children (except one flying, green clad boy). I grew up.
The memories are still deep inside, in the pit of my stomach down in the core of myself. It is my gift from the Loch Ness monster, the Sugar Plum fairy, from Rudolph. As an adult I would do anything to get those feelings back. Because even though I can be joyful, excited, expectant, my brain always has sensible adult thoughts shifting around in the back. Like mortgage payments and laundry.
As an adult I know why the sky is blue, that Father Christmas was my mother, and is now me. That unless I fall over no more of my teeth will fall out. I would give almost anything for one day of being seven again on the first day of the summer holidays, or hunting for flower fairies with my best friend.
The difference now is as an adult I make my own magic.
The world is full of enchanted things, special, sparkling moments. In them I know that magic is real. Sunsets, stars, a game of chess and a phone call to your grandmother. Magic is just a little different than the type I grew up with.
The Santa debate
When my son was a baby my Nan asked if I was going to tell him that Santa was real. I was thrown by her question. She said, do you think it is a bad thing to lie to him? She meant this question only with love and I had never thought about it as a lie. It was more about bringing hope, and magic.
Was I cross at my mother when I found out Father Christmas wasn’t real? Did her lying to me destroy her parental trustworthiness? No. There was a sense of sadness loosing Santa, but I would not want little me to have truth over hope, over magic.
Children are growing up so fast these days (oh god I am my mother). I want my boy to believe in Jack Frost, sea monsters, that he could get a letter from Hogwarts. That the sky is blue because it is the suns favourite colour.
We also tell our children not to tell lies. Does that make me a hypocrite? Is it wrong that I choose what lies are right and what are wrong. Good or bad? Perhaps I think with my heart and not with my head. Miracle on 34th Street is one of my most beloved films, in it is a quote, ‘better a lie that brings a smile, than a truth that brings a tear.’
I admit I tell my son lies. Lies to spark his imagination, lies that bring him fun, excitement and belief.
Do you believe in magic?
I have friends, parents that are anti Santa. That’s their choice and I have no argument with it. This post isn’t about bribing kids to be good and using Santa as an excuse. This is about everything make believe; fairies, sea monsters, magic creatures.
Santa might not be real, fairies may not be real…but those childhood memories are very much real.
Fairy tales are youth and joy. A child’s imagination is a powerful and unique thing. Disbelief in magic may result in my son to become a politician. I would rather he lived in a tree.
Childhood lasts for the briefest of moments. It is an inherently magical time, an enchanted place. Colours are brighter, time slower. It is not perfect, but rainbows are chased and everything is mysterious. I will try and make it last as long as possible.
What do you tell your children? Lies or truth? Do you believe in fairies?
I do. I do.
Of course Santa et al are real, I don’t want to risk not getting presents this year! My daughter (6) still believes and is frantically writing letters making sure that her new brother (3 months) doesn’t get missed out.
Fairy hunting is so cool, and we are lucky enough to live near a fairy corridor where new fairy doors appear regularly. The tooth fairy has a hard job in our house though as my daughter has lost 2 teeth and ate both of them.
I don’t do elf on the shelf though – not a fan of him….seems a bit creepy!
Haha I just asked Santa for a cookbook and socks. I am old. Oh she sounds gorgeous what a loving sister! My son keeps wobbling his rock solid teeth and informing me they are about to fall out! We got an elf but he looks like a fairy rather than the evil smiley faced ones..x
Oh well I am a huge believer of the magic of fairytales. It sparks imagination and creativity and an enthusiasm that will never be replicated and for the few short years between real appreciation and reality I will do everything I can to make life magical, exciting and special. I think that there are many white lies told to children in their young years. Not to hurt them or insult them but to protect them from the reaalities and the dangers of this scary world we live in. Sometimes the truth hurts.
Lovely, but what, you do not believe in Santa? – I have already sent him money for your pressies. I was so upset the year I realised you had been told by older friends he did not exist and I could see this had confused you, I climbed out of the window and up onto the roof jingling bells), although how did you pay me back, by insisting at the Nativity play to be an Angel in flowery Doc Martin boots! Somethings you do not have to see with your eyes to believe in – others have to be seen to be believed! x
MUMMY 🙂 Haha do you remember that one year Santa drank a little too much wine and put the wrong stocking in the wrong room so I got up and switched them…then woke you up at like 5am! I was confused till in my 20s with those bells, I thought I was just hallucinating as a child.. total commitment to the cause there Lainey! Love you xx
I tell my children about Santa, about fairies and about things like that. For me, it’s all about making things more magical, helping encourage them to use their imagination. They’re only little for a short time and if these little things make those moments even more exciting, I don’t see the harm. I don’t remember feeling like my parents had lied to me over these things – like you, I was more sad about losing the magic. #triballove
I totally think that children should believe in magic, it’s a huge part of childhood in my opinion x #KCACOLS
A part of me still believes in magic and fairies, and that I’m sure is down to my parents telling me that they existed. I want my children to have that magic and wonder for as long as possible, so yes, I’ll keep on lying to them too! x #KCACOLS
We spend so much of our life searching for positive things to believe in. I believe in letting our children have all the magic they want for as long as possible #KCACOLS
this is an interesting read because it is something the hubby and I have been discussing recently but more in context around religion. we do tell the little man about father Christmas and I love the magic that childhood brings, the innocence – before that’s all blown away far too soon these days. in my mind these are white lies and innocent lies – lies that keep the magic alive a little longer 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday!
I love every part of this. For a child to believe in “magic” in its simplest form for me, is beautiful! Imagination starts a conversation, increases the ability to write and use language in different ways. Not only with “silly” and “fun” traditions but also reading books about fairies and the like… Well, that’s my opinion. 🙂 #KCACOLS
I’m on the fence with this one. We don’t celebrate xmas anyway for religious reasons but I did believe in fairies when I was little and they brought me great joy in play. I think I like the way it’s gone in our house – the girls don’t really believe in fairies (it’s always with a nudge nudge wink wink) but actually the thought of them possibly existing has brought them joy too. Its a hard one because I definitely don’t agree with lying to kids. Hmm, good question! #kcacols
I love this post. Ive heard this debate so many times, and I will always believe that in this situation….a lie that brings a world of magic and wonder is the right choice for me. I could never deprive my children of that magic. Its a once in a lifetime thing. And I still believe in fairies!!! #KCACOLS
Thank you for such a lovely reply, I didn’t really know there was a debate until my nan said and then I asked friends about it…I would not trade truth for my lovely magical memories xx
My kids know that Santa, The Easter Bunny, and many other things aren’t real. However, that doesn’t take away from their joy . We do a lot though to ensure it’s unique.
This is a topic I have been mulling over. I want my daughter to feel the excitement and magic of Santa coming to give her presents, but I don’t want her to be upset at me for lying to her. I want her to feel this magic because when she’s older it’ll be gone and the holidays won’t feel as magic as they once were. I want her to have her special moment.
In my opinion, for my own family I love making Santa and everything else real and I think when they find out its how sensitively we explain to them that is important. Thank you for commenting lovely x