Today I watched Nanny McPhee with Doodle. She absolutely loved it and sat there watching in amazement at this woman who was full of magic and able to fix a world of wrongs. At the end, you know where the wedding is taking place and he almost marries the evil woman, but then Nanny McPhee and the children realise he loves Evangeline and they fix everything? As Evangeline walked down that aisle and lifted her veil, I began to cry. Now if you know me, you know I don’t cry at films, least of all kids films!
How do I ever explain to my daughter, that this wonderful world of magic and happy endings isn’t real?
I grew up watching Snow White, Cinderella and all of the wonder filled happy ending fairy tales a girl could watch. I believed in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, along with all the other mystical beings that made life so magical as a child. I have no idea when I stopped, perhaps it was through age, but I know I lived in a world very different to the one I am raising my daughter in and it terrifies me.
I have personal reasons and we have personal experiences that make the world a much darker place than it ever should have been, but even if you remove those things and take a look at what is happening around the globe, it is bleak. Even today I was reading about how Father Christmas’s that work in shopping centers or grottos, now can’t do certain things, or say certain things because the world view has been skewed so irrecoverably that people have no trust in anyone. Now, don’t get me wrong, these Santas are a little bit of a strange concept, as is Santa Claus himself – a strange man who lets himself into your home and leaves gifts, yet we tell our children not to trust strangers, but this one guy is okay.
I made the decision, again for reasons I can’t discuss, that my daughter will be told that Santa will come to see her (at an organised event) and he will give her a gift and check if she has been good. That he may send tiny Elves to keep watch, but only when Mummy knows they are visiting and lastly, that we leave out a snack for Father Christmas and his reindeer, but that he knocks once Doodle is fast asleep and delivers a gift to Mummy for her, he doesn’t let himself in or creep around our house.
I hate it!
My brother and I would wait eagerly, trying to stay awake to hear sleigh bells and catch Santa leaving our gifts. There was nothing sinister about him, it was magic how this fat jolly bearded guy could zip in and out of all the houses in all of the world, in just one night. We were filled with uncontrollable excitement.
I’ll find another way to inject that into her childhood.
So, fairy tales? Do I let her believe that there is happy endings and days filled with magic and wonder? Or do I crush her little should with the harsh reality of the world around us, that bad people are out there, they may even be people she knows and that they do terrible things?
I hate this online culture where everything seems to offend someone, somewhere and they feel it is necessary to tell the world and then change the world according to what they as a singular person believe. I am not offended by much, in fact I think the more differing opinions in the world the better, it would be boring otherwise. This is different though, I am not offended by fairy tales or magical childhood beings, I love them and want my daughter to live in a world where they exist and fill her imagination with endless possibilities. I guess my question is, in this day and age is that even a plausible way to bring up a child? To allow them these beliefs, to live in a magical bubble? I want that so much for her.