As parents, we have encouraged our children to use their imaginations and to look at the world through a different lens. To see the possibilities – the magic – in everything around them.
We knowingly nurtured a talent to suspend belief because we recognize value in a world of make believe. We believe that in the ability to see things outside of someone else’s perceived truth exists the building blocks of great change. Of potential and creativity. Of originality and ingenuity. Of innovation and art. Of leadership.
Enthusiasm danced in the thrill of each new mystic adventure. Joy lived in my children’s squeals of delight. My heart swelled at the look of wonder in their eyes.
Magic truly lived in those special times together
Together, we spied fairies in rainbow reflections on the wall, or the twinkling dust diamonds in the air, as the sunlight snuck through the window at dinner. We crafted wee treasures for magical creatures to find and built small dwellings to offer refuge from the Muggle world. We wondered aloud whether each tooth fairy were assigned a family or a ‘route’ and whether she turned the water the colour of her dress.
In those cherished moments, we were unburdened by someone else’s version of truth.
We fuelled our creative spirits. Our children’s minds were lit. Their imaginations soared, free from the overly large and heavy realities that rest on the shoulders of adults – an enchanted carpet ride.
Magic truly lived in those special times together.
Until an adult relative told my kids that the belief in magic we have fostered in our home is all based on lies. Who would do that? Why, right?
In a word – Religion.
Spending time with my children during the holiday season, she-who-shall-not-be-named thought it the perfect time to make sure the kids knew about the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas. Whether her religious beliefs are shared by our family apparently held no weight when inspired by God to share the truth as taught by her church.
‘What about Santa?’ my son asked.
Which was when she decided to tell ‘the truth’ – she told him we were lying to them.
Our decisions – and what we value for our children – are threatened by others’ need to validate their own belief system, story, or choices
Suddenly, no longer fueled by belief, the magic ceased to exist. An innocence vanished. And potential futures faded like Tinkerbell herself.
How does the supposed truth of the invisible Holy Ghost, or Angels on high, give anyone the authority to deem Santa or winged fairies mere lies we tell our children? Can you imagine the outrage if I destroyed someone’s religious beliefs to their child, dismissing them as fantasy? Because, while I’ve never said it, I can’t say I believe in her magical beings either, with their grand promises if outdated instructions are blindly followed. But I would never call her out as a liar.
Because here is where fact actually resides: others may not be as respectful to our truth as we are to their version of reality. Our decisions – and what we value for our children – are threatened by others’ need to validate their own belief system, story, or choices. This is the truth at the heart of the ‘Mommy’ wars: the debate on co-sleeping; breast is best; and every other parenting choice people feel strongly about.
In our home, we will continue to clap our hands and loudly shout “I believe” so that all things magic – all things possible – continue to exist for our children. And we will teach our children to respect that others will hold a belief system – with associated practices and values – that are different than their own.
We will teach our children that truth and lies are relative – Especially in parenting.
Even more so in Magic.