A hot button issue among peaceful parents and Unschoolers is whether or not to teach kids about fictional characters, such as Santa, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, etc. While I understand the reluctance to “lie” to kids about such things, I also think that imagination is fun, at any age, and should be encouraged. I also believe that letting kids make up their own minds about what to believe is a basic human right. That includes beliefs about the origins of the universe, religion, politics, etc. That doesn’t mean that we, as parents, can’t explain what and why we believe the things we do. We absolutely should!
I believe, and have taught my children, that there are an infinite number of realities, and that every individual “thing” in every reality is a part of one “thing”, or one “energy”, if you will. Also, that reality is simply what we perceive it to be. Which would mean that if you believe that a “thing” exists, it does…at least in one of the planes of existence. Furthermore, anything that you can imagine would have to actually exist, at some point in time and space.
Just as I didn’t tell my oldest that the bird named “Lionel” (that she alone saw) didn’t exist, I don’t tell my kids whether Santa or the tooth fairy exist or not. For a time, they believed the Easter Bunny existed, even though I never even played along with that one. There are some fantasies that I have played along with, and even have perpetuated, and some I don’t. As long as I am letting my kids make up their own minds, then I don’t personally view that as lying to them. Now, if they say “I want to know if you filled my stocking or if Santa did”, then I’ll tell them. Creating mystery is not lying. Not telling the truth when asked is lying. It’s possible to make believe different scenarios while leaving the truth a mystery, but yet not lie in the process. Pretending to be something you’re not, while trying to genuinely convince another person that you are, that is a lie. Doing something and saying some fictional character did it is a lie. Doing something and letting your kids decide for themselves whether or not you did it (and answering truthfully if they ask) is not a lie. Creating mystery and being imaginative by saying “hmmm, it must have been the tooth fairy!” is not lying. Beliefs are neither lies nor truths, they are perceptions of reality. Beliefs are just as real as feelings; both are highly personal.
So I say, play along! Have fun! Be imaginative and creative. Build fairy houses and leave cookies for Santa. Search for the end of the rainbow and go on a hunt for Bigfoot. Life is full of mystery and wonder. Enjoy it =)