Children have a sense of wonder. Actually we all do, but for children, most of what they see, they are seeing for the first time.
Up to a point, they'll believe pretty much anything you tell them.
So, why tell them lies?
Well, the obvious reason is because it's the cultural norm. And while "everybody's doing it" is not necessarily a good reason to do something, there is a certain price to pay for breaking with cultural norms. Ridicule, ostracism, judgement, harrassment. You know the old story about dyeing a chick (that's a baby chicken, people) blue and putting it back with the others? They'll peck it until it dies. People aren't much different.
Maybe we've forgotten our own sense of wonder? "If I tell this child a fantastic lie, and they believe it, then it's real to the child." There's more than one regretful parent in the world trying to live through his children instead of recognizing the wonder around himself.
And, there's more than one freshman philosophy student in the world who's just entirely too hip to play that hokey old Santa Claus game. More than one young person who is so angry at the trust an adult betrayed that he SWEARS he will "NEVER EVER LIE TO A CHILD NO MATTER WHAT."
Yeah. My 2-year old sister didn't understand "sharp". But she understood "hot". You can bet your ass I told her that knives were "hot". And if I have a child, I'll probably do the same thing again. It's good to keep the fingers ON the hands.
Why would I subject my child to that ostracism? To preserve my own ideology? To prove that the adults who lied to me--"damn them I said--I'll never be like that"--were WRONG! To perform a little "social experiment" on the hapless human being who had the bad fortune to be delivered into my loving care?
I doubt it.
I have the high-minded ideals of a married man who has yet to be a father. But I'm not stupid enough to say "I will never..." until I've had some experience.
I know what I'd like to do. What's actually feasible is a different story.
I'd like to teach my children what a sense of wonder really is. I'd like to teach my children that they can watch Star Trek (or whatever they watch these days) and think "wouldn't it be cool if we could...". But it wouldn't be cool.
If you were the person who could appreciate the transporters, phasers, and mindmelds you dream about, you'd already be amazed. By what you have today.
We live in the "Star Trek" universe of our grandparents. We put a fucking man on the moon thirty-four years ago. Did it sevaral times again over the next several years. Nobody seems too impressed with that today. Well, most aren't.
I can go outside and breathe all the air, soak up all the sunlight, and swim in all the water I want to.
If our hypothetical "I want a transporter before I'll be impressed." friend DID actually live on a starship, he'd just walk around feeling sorry for himself and wishing he had a lake. Or a mountain. Or a forest. 'Cause the holodeck is fuckin' lame and his ration on it is only an hour a month.
I think these things--these everyday things--are entirely too awesome for words.
I think the ability to appreciate the wonder in our everyday lives is precious. It is part of what defines who I am, and makes my life great.
Wonder and gratitude are closely related.
I see people seeking wonders in religion. I see people seeking wonders in new age magick, Jon Edward et. al., tech toys, dope, sex, you name it.
Shiny objects. No substance.
I hope to teach my children to recognize and preserve their sense of wonder.
I hope to teach my children gratitude and joy.
Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, are "shiny objects". They bring you stuff, and when the new wears off, the toys are forgotten, the money is spent or dusty in the can, and the chocolate is eaten. And the excitement is gone.
For children, the excitement is profound. It's fun. Like dropping acid--it's a trip. But it's not real; it's not true enlightenment, and it doesn't last.
So, I think I'll let my children believe in Santa Claus if they want to.
But I'll show them something much more wonderful. And much more durable. And much more real.
I will teach them not to be distracted by shiny objects.
I wonder what it will be like? I wonder what these people I've never met will say to me when I tell them these things?
Guess the k5 folks need the /. sig.
Thought you were smarter than that.
If all you can complain about is the spelling, everyone assumes you support the content.