Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How Far Would You Go?

If you found out your kids were, say, setting up an experiment to prove or disprove the reality of a childhood icon, maybe a creature known to collect small teeth and leave something in trade, be it a gold coin or a whistle or what-have-you (I think these things change depending on which creature's 'route' you happen to be on), would you actively help these children with their experiment? Would you maybe even tweak the experiment to prove the existence of a childhood icon, in case that particular icon wasn't in the neighborhood that day to prove their own existence? Or would you let the experiment take its own course, acknowledge that the moment of questioning is the moment of growing up, and that soon they'll be asking to shave their legs? Myself, I'm undecided. It actually becomes less of a "Could I continue to convince" and more of a question of "Will this kid be jeered at in school if this scenario is allowed to play out much longer?" Sometimes, it's just easier to pick up a sock....

I got to meet with my knitting group today. We were talking about how good crafts are for kids to do. A friend of mine, at Thanksgiving, assigns a teenager to organize crafts for the younger kids in all of the extended family. I think this is a wonderful idea! The teenager is engaged, not sitting on the stairs wondering why they're in this crazy family, and the kids are all working together, getting a headstart on their Christmas gifts. Having something to do with your hands generates talking, which can only be a good thing when family gets together only a few times a year. I grew up far away from my cousins, and never got to know them well. What I did get to know of them hasn't been the most positive experience, so I generally avoid them. I hang with my aunts, who seem like very nice people. Well, most of them. As I get older, I see more clearly which people around me are more judgemental, less considerate, more selfish. I must have been the coddled niece, because as I see the truer natures of my extended family, I am becoming more discerning about who I want to be friends with, now that I'm an adult. Then I worry that I'm getting judgemental (!!!), so maybe I should organize a craft table for the grown-ups at our next get-together. There is a whole older generation that comes to our family reunions, that I know nothing about. They smile benignly, tell me I look like my mother, and we all stand together for a group picture. Maybe this year I'll bring some beads and glitter, yarn and cardboard, and see if we can't all get to know each other a little better.

7 comments:

Beth said...

That is a hard question abut the kids and the tooth bearing person. I'd probably help them though. Dreams get spoiled soon enough.
Craft table for adults sounds fun and I may just use your idea.

Thanks for the comment about photos, by the way.

LaurieM said...

I wouldn't help. We make or find our own magic in this world.

I remember explaining to the children about how magic is real, it happens every time we don't know how a thing works. Just because they knew who was behind the magic doesn't take away from the love that it shows.

Carrie K said...

Ooh, two hard questions. The...ah, magical creature in question and judging. I like Laurie's answer on the first one.

As for judging? It really is something that everyone should do and does. But it ought to be based on the person and their character and not their say, wealth, status, race, gender, kind of thing. (oh the soapbox you are spared since I'm typing this and not standing there rattling off at you.) We also need to trust our instincts.

AJ said...

Wait a sec... there is no tooth fairy??!! ;-)

Coming on the heels of the whole school incident... maybe there has been enough crushed dreams for one season.

Beads an glitter... I think if I tried that it would get thrown at me. But what a GREAT idea for you to do. ;-)

Laura B said...

Hmmmm... I'd probably let it go, but my family wasn't ever into those things, so I might be biased.

Romi said...

I'd vote for letting them try to disprove it on their own and see what happens. It's all part of growing up. And after all, even if disproven, those childhood icons do exist in all of us. :)

Marji said...

my kids are grown now, but I do remember those times. I'd vote for letting them discover what they do. Those that "need" to continue to believe will find a way, those who feel like you are Lying to them will develop a sense that you are not to be trusted. I've seen kids cling stubbornly to the Santa myths long after they *knew* in their brain what was behind the magic. I've also met totally pragmatic children who insist at the age of 3 that there is no magic.
I was one of the ones traumatized by friends, when I was 12 or 13, because my parents went so overboard to make sure that we continued to believe. I remember to this day the humiliation by my friends because I was so naive.