I had occasion to be talking with a three year old. We were discussing a cartoon book put out by a dentistry practice, in which some sort of entity called ‘the Tooth Fairy’ was mentioned. I had to explain that the children in the story were stupid.
The response was: ‘Why?’
I explained slowly and carefully that there was no such thing as a Tooth Fairy, and it was always children’s parents who were the ones to take the teeth from under the pillow and put a coin there.
Naturally, this caused another ‘Why?’
I said that I didn’t really know – perhaps the parents wanted the children to believe in a Tooth Fairy.
I said because the parents themselves were stupid, and thought that lying to their children was somehow clever.
The three year old nodded thoughtfully. I reiterated that the cartoon book was simply wrong, and that there was no Tooth Fairy, never had been a Tooth Fairy, and despite all the good bits about kindly dentistry, those Tooth Fairy bits were actually all about the children’s parents lying to them.
I said perhaps it was because the stupid parents wanted their children to have the wrong ideas.
The message sank in. It’ll be reinforced repeatedly, until the three year old is quite content and happy knowing there is no Tooth Fairy, and to have a certain suspicion about anyone who tries to make them think there is.
The child already know there is no Santa, no ‘Father Christmas’ living at the North Pole who delivers presents magically at Christmas. The child is already aware there are just parents who buy things for their kids sometimes. ‘Santa’ is an imaginary thing. This too will be reinforced until its a worldview of no particular importance – although I’m sure the child will have some amusement at those kids who seriously want to believe in a fat red-dressed man showering gifts globally on one specific night.
I kind of am looking forward to having much the same discussion when it comes to all the fairytales of Christianity – the God, Jesus, Mary nonsense – and the ‘magic powers’ of what’s called the ‘Bible.’ I’ve already made my feelings known about flags and the militarism of parades, and the child is soaking up the fact that flags are not a good thing. They’re repulsive – they lead to patriotism, an even worse stupidity.
And later, the child will be taught that swearing oaths to flags is equally meaningless – especially if they have references to imaginary Gods. After all, in this modern age, the notion that a hand placed on some book society says is ‘magic,’ is absurd. Swearing oaths and allegiances? I think not. We’re out of the school playground now. That kind of naivety should not exist.
The child will learn in time that God is dead and He never existed, and where the child is – is wading through the swamps of other people’s ideas about reality. The consumer-addled militarist blood-thirsty desert of the ‘real.’
Already, as a bright articulate child, kept away from television, it knows that there are animals in books – and that we eat them, too. The lovely cows, the cute sheep, the oinking pigs – they all end up on a plate. In supermarkets, we go to inspect the dead animals in the meat section. In time, the child will fully understand the weird human duality of the colorful gamboling lambs in kids books, and the plastic-encased blood dripping haunches of meat which turn into mouth-watering food.
The child will hopefully learn that the most important thing is not about ‘fitting in’ but about perceiving reality as it is, and remaining true to ones own view of it.
I couldn’t think of a better gift to offer a child than an honest worldview.
Especially in a schizophrenic culture pushing for conformity of viewpoints – while pretending each child is an individual, as well as the perpetual lies of consumerism, the Media’s sexualization of children, all overlaid with the ugly mental-crippling effects of religion.
Until the next time…