In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on March 8, 2013.
Prompt: The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .) : a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?
These stories can be perceived as fun and harmless, they can be perceived as lies without justification, or they can be seen as teaching children that stories are what drives the world. I prefer to think of them as educational and empowering.
When we tell children the story of Santa Claus, they begin to learn that:
- There is someone in the world that keeps an eye on them.
- If they learn to behave well good things will happen for them.
- Not every belief is real, but they learn that they can create their own reality through the power of storytelling.
And if we take a look at how life in American culture is currently working:
- We are constantly being watched, by friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc…most of us have someone’s eye on us at all times.
- We are rewarded for behavior that matches the expectations of our culture. As adults, this typically means jobs and financial success, but it can also apply in friendship, courtship, and citizenship.
- We have to learn to tell stories each day to understand who we are and to help convey our ideas to others. Some of this is based upon reality, but how we position and tell our stories can carry much more weight than facts many times.
There are additional examples that can be drawn, but I think you get the idea. The power of storytelling is potentially the most powerful lesson, as it can inform and shape all interactions. It’s the conscious awareness that our stories create and shape our reality that gives us the power over our lives.