Daily Prompt: Memories of Holidays Past: Santa died for me at age of seven or eight. Devastating and made me see my mother as a liar – a major #EmotionalIntelligence lesson. First today’s Emotional Fitness Training Laugh.
My story of Killing of Santa: My two older brothers waged a two-year war trying to convince me there was no Santa. My mother fought their efforts. My brothers finally won that war, when I climbed on to a Santa’s lap in our local department store and smelled cigarettes and liquor on the Jolly Old Man’s breath. The anger I felt about having been lied to about not just Santa, but the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Tinkerbell lived for many years in my heart.
So do you remember when you discovered Santa was a lie? Did that start your awareness that parents did not always tell the truth?
Because I felt so betrayed by my mother who tried to keep Santa alive against my brother’s efforts, when I became a parent, I labeled Santa and all the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and even Tinkerbell as not real. Now, I would be a bit less doctrinaire, but once a child began to have his or her doubts, I do not continue to promote myths as reality. I also make an effort to tell my grandchildren some things are toys and make-believe. Doing so does not take away their pleasure or cut their magical thinking; it does lay the ground work for when their brains leap forward into a more reality based thought process.
Emotional Fitness Thoughts
Our emotions distort reality often to comfort and just as often to let us do our thing without thinking about the hurt that might result to either ourselves or others. My mother loved promoting the myths of childhood. She gained enormous pleasure watching her children’s pleasure. That certainly explains her promotion of Santa and the Tooth Fairy. I don’t think it ever occurred to her, that a child would feel she was lying to me.
A brute fact: Sooner or later all children feel parents have lied to them. It is part of the way of humanity and relates to how children think. Before the age of six, children live in a magical world where wishes are reality, if you can think it up, it is real.
Then we move to the stage of “Have to see it to believe it.” This is what Jean Piaget called the age of concrete thinking. Magic flies up the chimney and we test truths against personal experiences. My entry into the ability to think more realistically combined with a Santa who drank and smoked cigarettes, not a pipe, marked my entry into this different level of thinking.
Thinking magically makes many children seem bright and creative. However, creative their magical thinking gets, they are not reality based. Emotional intelligence involves being able to “code reality.” Than means stepping out of wishful or comforting thinking at least when such thinking no longer accurately codes reality.
Hold on to magic that comforts and harms no others. There are many things we humans do not know and that allows for magic and miracles. At the same time, when you think you know something and keep hitting a brick wall of some sort, think more deeply and particularly about what matters.
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