Five of the Week #6

Half a dozen “Five of the Week” in no time. No, I’m not starting on the time issue again 😉
Today it’s all about lies. Not the lies you can read in the newspapers every day told by this or that person. No, it’s about the lies we grow up with. As a child we all have been lied to by our parents and often enough their lies aren’t even revealed by them. Sometimes other children do that or even teachers in elementary school. But somehow I hope that today’s children are still told these lies because they really make up a big part of a childhood as they help to preserve childish naivity.

Why do people lie to each other. Often it’s because they are afraid of the truth themselves. Others are afraid to hurt someone and yet others lie because they want to hurt someone (because of revenge or simply for the saking of hurting someone). I guess parents belong to the category of being afraid to hurt their child. Another reason is that they want their child to have a happy childhood and enjoy their childish beliefs. I think there is nothing bad about parents telling these white lies as they’ll be able to see things from the other side.  So, today it’s all about the five “White Lies” of childhood.

1. Santa Claus
Without knowing the meaning of Christmas every child knows it’ll get a lot of presents on this day. I know Christmas is not about presents but, come on, it’s one nice side effect, isn’t it? Honestly, you waited for Christmas the whole year. You wrote and re-wrote your wishlist a hundred times before it “disappeared”. On Christmas Eve you spend hours in church without really knowing why and maybe even not understanding what the Father is talking about. Ok, it’s not hours but to a child it seems like this. And now to all the parents who might read this: is there anything better than coming home, gather around the Christmas tree and see the bright eyes of a child taking in all the magic that happened around him? No, I guess not. And it’s exactly this magic that makes it worth to keep Santa Claus alive for as long as possible.
Oh, and isn’t it great to have your child tell you how it thinks it heard Santa Claus outside or even coming down the chimney the previous night?

2. The Easter Bunny
“How come there are eggs hidden in the house? We don’t have any hens around. And why are they painted? Were they like this when the hens laid them?”
Only someone with no heart would say: “No, they were painted in a factory, I bought them in the supermarket and hid them when your were asleep last night.” I think that would disturb a child’s view on Easter forever. Therefore, it’s better to be creative. Of course there were no hens in the house. No, the Easter Bunny collects their eggs througout the year, paints them in all colors possible and hides them in houses where children live. I guess you all can still remember the picture you drew as a child where the Easter Bunny, with a basket full of colorfully painted eggs, was in your house. Those pictures are always wonderful to look at. So, keep the Easter Bunny alive.

3. The Stork and the Babies
Mommy, mommy,where do the babies come from? Now you either come up with the bees and the flowers or with the stork. As it’s hard to explain the facts of life to a small child you’ll probably go for the stork. This is the better way as all parents come up with different stories. Some say that they ordered the baby and had it delivered by the stork which is, I guess, the most common explanation. My grandfather even told me that the stork who brought me was old and weak so he let me fall down in front of the hospital. Luckily my grandfather found me and that’s how I came to be part of my family. I love that story because it’s so much more creative than the simple truth. However, the toughest part about the stork is how to explain it when mommy’s pregnant with child number to? Did the stork do outsourcing??

4. The Power of Vegetables
Of course vegetables are good and healthy food. But what if your child simply doesn’t want to eat his vegetables? You tried everything and everything has the same outcome: “No, I don’t want to eat my vegetables!” How can you get out of that situation? There is only one man who can help you here: Popeye. I really want to know how many children eat their spinach because of Popeye. “See how weak Popeye is now? This is because he eats no vegetables. Oh, look, he’s eaten his spinach and now he’s kicking Brutus’ ass.” Yes, this is the best way to get your child to eat vegetables. Tell them they make him/her big and strong – just like Popeye. I grew up with Popeye and I still like that idea. It’s better than threatening a child with punishments. Simply do it the Popeye way – it worked well when I was a child. More spinach for Popeye 😉

5. Stop making that Face…
…or it will stay like this forever. Who hasn’t heard these words from parents when their children start making faces at other people? I think most of us have. Of course no face will stay in a grimace forever. As everything is an issue of manners why not tell the kids that other people just don’t think making faces is fun? Sticking one’s tongue out at somebody else is something you just don’t do because it is impolite. Otherwise, it’s always fun to listen to that sentence as most children believe it. What always works best in this case is the wrath of God, e.g.: “If you don’t stop making faces God will make your face stay this way forever.”

Of course we are told more than these five white lies by our parents throughout our childhood (approx. 3000) but it’s ok because there is a good reason for their doing so. Protecting us and our childish innocence for as long as possible. In the song “Arriving somewhere but here” by Porcupine Tree it says: “Never look for the truth in your mother’s eyes” and I guess this really fits for parts of our childhood (and sometimes even longer).