Parents tend to lie to their kids a lot, often about things that are just easier to deal with through falsehoods. Just about everyone has had some parent say "But you like green beans!"1 or "You can't have chocolate because you're allergic. One bite will send you to the hospital!"2 While the lying adult might mean well, too much of these fibs can result in a child losing faith in anything their parents have to say. As a result, I try to be upfront with my kid, though he might not like what he hears. Today, though, I had cause to engage in a lie so old that millions of young people around the world believe it to be true3.
I became Santa Claus.
To make this costume work a little better some sofa cushions were needed around the waist, and the non-prescription gold-rimmed glasses were different enough to throw the boy off when he saw me enter the room. With a booming voice much lower than I generally speak, the Santa act went quite well. There were no tears, though there was a good bit of trepidation. Even Reiko said that she wasn't sure if it was really me in the outfit at times, which is high praise given my poor acting skills.
As a result of today's little make-believe, the boy will think that Santa Claus is a real person for a couple of years. The outfit is a relatively decent costume that should last for a while4, and who doesn't like the idea of protecting a child's innocence for as long as possible? Will he be upset when he finds out that this is all a ruse? No idea. If he does get upset, though, I'll be sure to explain that it was done so that he could get a little more enjoyment out of the holidays. I wasn't angry with my parents when I discovered that Santa wasn't real — which was around the age of 7 while en route to my grandfather's home — and hopefully the boy won't be, either.
While I can't say this will be the only time I hide truth from the boy through the use of customary misdirections and stories, I can say that it will not be a common occurrence. Kids generally aren't fools, and I'd rather not treat them as such ... even if it's in good fun.
- I love green beans. There isn't a vegetable I wouldn't eat as a child, and the only one I try to avoid as an adult is オクラ, as I'm not at all a fan of slimy things. ↩
- This didn't happen to me, but I had a friend who thought she was allergic to the sweet until she was in her 30s because her parents simply wanted to avoid the sugar rush and potential cavities. ↩
- No, I'm not talking about the story of how a stork delivered them to their parents. If the boy ever asks this question, I'll suggest he ask his mum 😇. ↩
- The costume should last forever given the thing cost $80 and will be used for less than an hour per year. ↩