Pretend, Imagination and Other Lies

praying santaAmong young parents there is a growing number who have adopted the “we aren’t going to lie to our children” approach to parenting. This feeling is hovering around the issue of Santa Claus and his friends, the Easter bunny and Tooth Fairy. This mantra makes me wonder about how far this “honesty” goes. There are times when it is not appropriate to tell children the FULL truth. Many times we skirt the question, knowing they are too young for the answer. Where do babies come from?

What made me really think about lying to our kids was that there is no Santa Claus at Christmas and Easter bunny at Easter. Let me say here that I believe that Christmas and Easter were the most important events in human history. Both turned the hope of the world to the Eternal.

Ok, so the Easter bunny is a little odd, but Santa Claus comes from a real story of a priest who made sure that the hungry were fed. He did so out of selflessness and in anonymity; modeling our Savior’s example. I don’t understand why letting a child believe in this saint visit them for a few years is so wrong. And why not mix a little wonder in a time of miracles? Why not let a child know the fun of Christmas while learning the reverence?

If we aren’t going to lie about Santa, Easter bunnies and tooth fairies, then do we take away playing pretend and imaginary friends? There is no tea in that pot, you know. And the cookies taste like nothing because they aren’t really there. Really, you didn’t steal my nose… no imaginary friends; and oh, and Elf on the shelf isn’t really running around the house wreaking havoc. Where do we draw the line between truth and imagination with our children? Where is the light-heartedness and dreaminess of childhood?

Maybe Santa and the Bunny do add something else to Christmas and Easter that needs to be managed with children. Making sure they don’t outshine the birth of Jesus; and certainly being naughty or nice shouldn’t be the threat of the month. But if handled in the proper perspective, they add a little something to the holidays and a child’s innocent heart.

Reality and truth will come along soon enough and shove playing pretend, imagination and fantasy to the background.

Think about it…


1 thought on “Pretend, Imagination and Other Lies

  1. Thanks Karen for that blog post! I personally struggle with this, as I don’t want to lie to my kids. My oldest 2 were talking about the tooth fairy this week, and talk about Santa won’t be too far away. I was raised to know the difference and the real reason why we celebrate Christmas and Easter, but we got to have fun with the Easter Bunny and Santa, and the tooth fairy too. Mom still gives us gifts from “Santa” every once in a while -just to be silly

    Thank you for saying what I would bet are the thoughts of so many parents right now! It gets so hard sometimes to express what you did when we are constantly bombarded as parents of what we should or shouldn’t let our kids do. I have friends who don’t even have kids yet saying they absolutely won’t tell their kids about Santa or the Easter bunny or tooth fairy, but they will dress up for Halloween. (And I am not comparing Halloween to Christmas and Easter-just that imagination is ok in some instances and not in others). I probably shelter or stifle my kids freedoms and imaginations enough already-without adding this to the list!



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