At one child care center that I worked at I had a co-worker whose daughter attended the center. The mother believed in never lying to her children. As admirable as this sounds, it created problems for many other families and the other teachers. You see, lying also included the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, and of course, Santa. This honesty policy lead to The Great Santa Fiasco or #SantaGate. When the daughter was four she told her entire class that there was no such thing as Santa right around Christmas. This led to many parents trying to fix the damage. There were many children that were devastated.
This situation caused me to reflect on my own childhood and my relationship with the fantasies of youth.
If you ask my brother, I was twelve when I stopped believing in Santa. Of course my mother is much more accurate with her assertion of eight or nine. I had internal conflict with my Santa beliefs. Part of me knew that Santa wasn’t real when I was younger than that, but I liked the idea of magic, Christmas miracles, and an amazing man who could give children whimsy and wonder all over the world. I clung to Santa as long as I could get away with it, but eventually I faced the truth and accepted reality.
It wasn’t just Santa that I held on to. I lived in my own little world. I played fun filled games. I held on to my adventures as long as I could. My parents were supportive of me enjoying my childhood as long as I could.
One of my favorite things from the magical part of my childhood was the magic words. Whenever my dad would hit a red light, he would say these magic words “Ring around the cat’s butt, one, two, three.” And the light would turn green. It was incredible. It wasn’t until I was much older did I realize my dad was just watching for the other light to turn yellow before he said the words.
Princess Pea is just like me. She lives in her own world. She’d rather play pretend and chase imaginary creatures than play with toys the way they’re intended. She loves the whimsy and fantastical of being a child. I now see why my parents loved this part of my life. On this side, the parent side, seeing my child experience this is better than when I was in it myself.
There is something satisfying, uplifting, rejuvenating when you watch your child imagine. Seeing the magic in the world through a child’s eyes helps you see the good in the world, the beautiful, and the real magic.
The other day we were leaving the store and I taught Princess Pea the magic words my dad used. We used them to open the automatic doors, unlock the car door, and change the red lights to green. Pea lit up as she saw the words work and things change in the world. Pea found that there was a potential for miracles, an unseen force looking out for her. Pea saw wonder and awe. And I saw how Father in Heaven loved me and often did “magic” for me.
Once when I was 19 and had a horrible day, I was driving home. I turned the corner and saw this amazing scene, clouds arranged with the sun beaming through. It was a beautiful and magical sight. It uplifted my heart and helped soothe the frustrations of the day. I felt love and wonder. I knew that my Heavenly Father was aware of me and knew my problems. He knew that my love of wonder would help heal my heart that day.
Whimsy and magic of childhood prepares us to recognize the love and hand of Heavenly Father in our life. We can see the good, the miracles, and the magic still in the simple words of Ring around the cats butt, one, two, three.
How do you find the magic in your life? Or how do you instill the whimsy with your children?