Monday, April 16, 2012

Lies We Tell

Not everyone agrees that convincing our children a huge bunny hides candy eggs once a year is a good thing. Or for that matter, the story of a fat man breaking into our homes to leave presents, or that a fairy comes to collect our teeth in the middle of the night.

I see how it might be damaging to create fantasies for our children only to have them to find out later it was all lies. The people they trust the most, their parents, betraying them for years. But I think they come to terms quickly with the idea that we do it to protect their innocence, grow their imagination, and perhaps foster a belief in things we cannot always see. Or I hope they do because I am so not paying for therapy.

If you decide to always tell the truth to your child then where do you draw the line? At Santa Clause? The Easter Bunny? Or do you take it further? Maybe you should tell them the odds they will become an astronaut or President of the United States are very slim. It’s more likely they will grow up to work long hours for barely above minimum wages at a job they hate for a total asshat of a boss.

But you don’t want to kill all their hopes and dreams, do you? Neither do I, because sometimes those dreams are the only thing that keeps us from plotting the demise of our own bosses.

So I will continue to lie, not just because I’m so good at it…but because I believe it’s the right thing to do.

And my favorite quote on the subject:
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
― G.K. Chesterton

What's your opinion?


  1. Fantastic quote. And dreams shouldn't only be sought while sleeping. I pity the child who believes that.

  2. When I was a kid I believed in Santa and the Easter bunny but at age six I asked my mom if Santa was real and she answered truthfully. I've always been glad she did that! Its one thing to go along with something like Santa but its another to flat out lie to your child. So for me the answer of when should a kid be told is: When ever the kid asks for the truth.

  3. In many ways kids know more and see more than we do. Growing up is a process of shutting them down. The less you manage to shut them down, the better, in my opinion.

    A-Z @ Elizabeth Twist

  4. That is a brilliant quote!

    I see Santa or the Easter Bunny as like a rite of passage. You have to let kids get their on their own. This year my seven year old nephew asked who really brought the Easter eggs.
    I said, "What do you think?"
    He just smiled and said, "Let's not tell Meggie yet."
    So it's like a fun secret he's been let in on, and he loves it.

    And wait...something keeps us from plotting the demise of our bosses? I plot the demise of my bosses every single day. It's only the legal penalties that keep me from acting on them.

  5. I love that quote.

    Have you seen the movie "The Invention of Lying"? It gives a good idea of what a drab world we'd live in if we only ever told the literal truth.

  6. It's funny, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy don't bother me, but I, uh, sort of have issues with Santa Claus.

    When I was little, my mom worked all the time. And I believed in Santa. So when I was 7, I made sure to write Santa a letter telling him very clearly what I wanted for Christmas that year. I had been a good girl. I wasn't asking for anything too difficult: a Barbie. But I had been pining - PINING - for a specific one. The one with the super long hair that came with curlers. I talked about it all the time. For whatever reason, it was extremely important that I have THAT Barbie.

    Well, I gave the letter to my mom, and she mailed it to the North Pole. Come Christmas morning, sure enough, there was a Barbie-sized box under the tree for me. It was a Barbie.

    But it was the wrong one. It was not the one with the long hair that I could curl.

    My disappointment was obvious, and when my mother asked what was wrong, I told her that Santa had messed up my Barbie. I told her I didn't understand why would he get it wrong. He's SANTA, after all. He was supposed to be, like, this magic man, or something. And I had been a good girl, hadn't I?

    My mother's tired face fell. She felt terrible that "Santa" had brought me the wrong Barbie, because yes, I had a been a good girl, and explained that maybe Santa was very busy working all the time and that sometimes he made mistakes.

    I found out the truth about Santa two years later. My dad told me. I was shocked - really shocked! And horrified. Because I had made my mother feel terrible. When she was a working mother trying so hard to please me.

    And I still feel like crap about it, all these decades later.

    So I'm not crazy about the consumerism that Santa pushes on us. :(

  7. Aaaaand I didn't realize what a long comment that was going to be! Eeek. Sorry!

  8. I love your long comment!!!lol And I sort of want that Barbie now too...

    Mothers do not hold these things against us, I know from experience.

  9. Don't get me wrong, I love crushing children's souls as much as the next, but I think it's heartless to deprive them of a 'normal' childhood.

    "So what did you get for Christmas, little Johnny?"

    "Santa does not exist, ma'am. However, in lieu of the holiday, I got a ruler and a calculator to further my learnings at school."

    Tell me that kid won't grow up to be a serial rapist.


It helps to know I'm not just talking to myself.