Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Easter Bunny Is (Not) Real!

When I was growing up I was told from the start that Santa, the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy were all imaginary. Since last weekend was Easter, it got me thinking again about how I’ll raise my kids, and what I’ll tell them. I’ve gone both ways on the issue, and although admittedly I lean more towards telling them the truth, I like the idea and fun associated with these stories.

When I’ve told people that I’ve known as long as I can remember the truth about these classic kid conspiracies, the reaction I get is that I was robbed of a key part of my childhood. I completely disagree. I think it helped me understand early that I shouldn’t blindly accept everything I’m told, gave me a more accurate world view by helping me understand magic isn’t real, and gave me more confidence in the word of my parents.

The other side of this is also compelling. There is a perception people have of these characters personifying innocence, and encouraging imagination. Why force a kid to think like an adult when they are kids? Shouldn’t we embrace childhood fantasies in an effort to give our kids the best and most enjoyable childhood they can? Kids are kids for a short time, let them live like kids. You don’t tell your kids the whole truth right away about things like violence in the world and sex, so why isn’t a hiding the truth about holidays to enhance the kid’s life ok? I don’t know if there are stats, but I’d wager that most people who were raised believing in Santa think it added to their childhood experience. Doesn’t that make the lie worth it?

I don’t think that if you’re telling your kids the Easter bunny exists that you’re being dishonest or a bad parent, but at the very least this “white” lie seems to encourage a distorted view of the world to your kids. So is the magic of a childhood Easter and Christmas worth the lie? As I stand now I’m not sure I’d be able to tell it to my kids were I to ever reproduce.


Blogger -Lisa- said...

This is an interesting dilema... I too was "robbed" of a key part of my childhood in being told the truth about Santa and the easter bunny.

My sister is now a parent of 3, but with the two who experienced Easter, she is choosing to let them wonder about the truth. At Christmas we have a good friend who dresses up like Santa every year. I'm pretty sure that Sarah (who is 5), knows the real deal, she's too smart.

Of my friends who "believed" in Santa, I don't think they ended up any wierder than myself... so is it a BIG deal? It's a good question.. and one that is still up for debate for my hopefully someday future children :).

4/16/2007 12:13 AM  
Blogger Erin Bennett said...

I also missed out on the Santa/Easter Bunny/tooth fairy drama. :) I recently heard someone arguing for telling children the truth, saying that if we say "Yeah, by the way, Santa and all those characters are actually fake," what are they going to think about God? Also fake? Why should they believe that He is real if we've been lying about the others? Anyway, it was an interesting point. I'm not sure what we'll do. As a kindergarten teacher, I say kids who knew the truth break many hearts of kids who still believed. So sad!! :)

4/17/2007 5:31 PM  
Blogger Erin Bennett said...

Um, yeah, that should be "saw kids" not "say kids."
This English major is ashamed. :)

4/17/2007 5:32 PM  
Blogger david said...

Lisa & Erin - Thanks for the insight. It is a tough topic for sure. Like I said, it is easy to understand both sides. I hadn't thought about the "is God any more real than Santa" scenario before. Many people believe that God is a fictional character made up for us to fill a void in our lives, much like Santa fills a void for kids. I hate to start down a slippery slope, but I can see how that could test a child's faith in some cases.

4/17/2007 11:28 PM  
Anonymous Zapcrafter said...

I'm not sure at what age a child gains the ability (and in many ways, the burden) to truly distinguish between fantasy and reality. I honestly believe that in the mind of a young child, the real world is often indistinguishable from their expansive universe of imagination. Regardless of the myths we choose to share with them, their notion of reality will remain intertwined with cartoons, video-games, and the characters on cereal boxes...


4/26/2007 1:08 AM  
Blogger Erin Bennett said...


5/03/2007 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the world is so stupid it scared itself.-maybe you'll get to understand this one day

4/19/2011 11:54 AM  
Blogger shannon said...

Well,when I was a kid I believed in santa, tooth fairy, easter bunny and god. But one day my friend said "Yeah well god, the tooth fairy, all those characters aren't real..". Then I said "Uh yeah I knew that". But deep down I felt really sad about it. My heart told me they are real... but as an adult, I know they're fake :'(

4/20/2011 6:42 AM  
Anonymous Christian forever said...

God is real

3/18/2012 5:36 PM  

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