Instilling Wonder

Written by
Michael Wells

Instilling Wonder

Written by
Michael Wells

Instilling Wonder

Written by
Michael Wells
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QUESTION
“Is it right to teach kids about Santa and the Easter bunny and to pretend that they're real?”

When my kids were little I avoided the whole Santa Claus thing. My kids had great Christmases, and they knew who "Santa" was but they also knew that Santa was just an idea, a fun game. NOT real. Christmas was about family, not about mythical flying reindeer and getting stuff.

Other parents were a bit pissed off that I didn't indoctrinate my kids with The Lie, but it just wasn't me. I felt I owed that honesty to my kids, and never wanted to deceive them, even though it might be fun for awhile.

This was made much easier because their mother was Russian. For her, gift-giving happened on New Year's day, and it was a family celebration, not a consumer-mythology holiday.

My kids are very independent now and on the whole, I think that was the right decision. There's a huge amount of trust between me and my kids. They know I will always tell them the truth, even when their friends' parents are espousing Lies.

BUT... I've encountered a challenge to my thinking

Today, I came across this post, shared below- and after laughing my ass off for a good while. I began to reconsider my perspective.

Whoever wrote it added an excellent afterword at the very bottom which sums up my thoughts well.

I believe deeply in honesty. But here's my quandary...

For young children to develop a deep sense of wonder and amazement, do they need to be presented with possibilities that are false, seem like they could be true?

Or do we keep them grounded in reality, knowing that everything from the tiniest ant to the night sky are full of wonders already?

Which approach helps a child to stretch their imagination and appreciation for the unknown, the most completely?

What do you think?

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First published on 
. Last updated on 
June 14, 2022

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