The next edition of the Enjoy Life Unschooling Carnival focuses on Celebrating. Strangely, the day I got the topic in my mailbox, I had been discussing that same topic with a fellow plantation mom.
In celebrating with a small child, a parent must ask him/herself wether to perpetuate the myth or to tell the truth and possibly lose some of the marvel.
This can prove a hard nut to crack.
On the one hand you don't want to lie to your child, on the other you don't want to rob your child of his childhood fairy dust.
As a child, the mother I talked to had been made to believe some myth about Easter eggs (that easter eggs are different from normal eggs because they are laid by the cock) and in Sinterklaas (from which you Anglosaxons have ripped off Santa Claus). She had experienced a rather traumatizing episode in school when all her classmates knew the truth and she didn't (resulting in everyone - including the teacher - laughing at her ignorance), and a few months later, with Sinterklaas, the story repeated itself, since her parents had only told her that the thing about the cock and the Easter egg wasn't true.
I on the other hand found myself at the complete opposite of the spectre. I had told my class that all their beliefs about Sinterklaas were wrong, that the presents they got were left there by their parents, as my parents had always told me the truth.
I spent the rest of the afternoon standing in the corner.
|Image: Phil Fenstermacher on Picasa|
My daughter won't be schooled, so all these peer issues won't ose a problem. However, I think the story plantation mom told me has a deeper ground than the shame she felt from her peers, I think she felt especially betrayed by her parents.
I have always felt that hanging up these stories about easter bunnies and old men on horses throwing gifts down the chimney isn't being Authentic to your child. Especially when the parents try to maintain the myth no matter the cost (Why did I see Santa in the mall and now he's standing outside?)
I think being respectful to your child means that you don't lie to them.
Yes, I mighht read a story about Sinterklaas to my daughter. I might even withhold some details until she asks about it, but when she asks I wont lie.
And I won't lie on purpose.
For Easter, I told her we would be welcoming spring by doing an egghunt. And I told her I would go and hide the eggs we had painted together.
For Sinterklaas, I will tell her it is the holiday of sinterklaas. I will tell her the story and why we celebate, and I will tell her that she will receive a present if she leaves her little shoe outside the door. I won't ask her to write a letter to sinterklaas. I won't tell her Sinterklaas will come to our house and bring the gifts.
I hope this way I have found a middle ground