Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day 63: Trust in a Parent – Part 2

In my previous blog I shared a quote from Osho on ‘sharing truth’ which one’s child.

I’ll be re-quoting the section that will be relevant for this blog:

“But never say an untruth to a child because he is so helpless, so indefensible. He depends so much on you, he trusts so much in you – don’t betray him. This is betraying! Telling any lie means you have betrayed the child. And finally you will be in trouble. Sooner or later, the child will discover that you have been telling lies. That very day all trust in you will disappear.”

So I left off my previous blog mentioning that I went through such an experience of betrayal – and how my parents’ decision to uphold an ‘untruth’ changed my relationship with them forever.

Now this particular memory…is all about Santa Claus.

I found Santa Claus didn’t exist for the first time around when I was about 8. Us kids went to the basement and found all the gifts there. Though I am not sure I fully grasped the implications of the gifts being in the basement – cause by the time I was 9 and it was next year’s Santa Claus = I believed in Santa Claus again (or had forgotten that he doesn’t exist).

Anyway, the second time I found out that Santa Claus didn’t exist was when I was about 12 years old. I know, pretty late right – but the whole setup at home was reeaally well done, so it was all very convincing. That year I was writing my letter to Santa, and I was asking for Barbies. According to my peers, Barbies were for ‘small children’ but I still loved playing with them and would do it in secret. So Christmas was the perfect occasion to ask Santa for Barbies because it was something just between ‘him and me’, no-one else would ever need to find out.

So I had just placed my letter in my shoe by the chimney, and I am all chuffed and happy – I’m gonna get my barbies!! Then as I am walking upstairs, I see my sister is in a bit of a bad mood and she asks me what I am so happy about, and I say it’s because of Santa Claus. Then she all of a sudden tells me ‘You stupid runt, don’t you know Santa Claus doesn’t exist – it’s been mom and dad reading our letters all these years and buying the gifts, or other family members buying it for us’. In that moment the fact that she’d called me a stupid runt completely flew by me – what shocked me to the core was that ‘mom and dad have been reading our letters all these years and buying the gifts’.

I ran down the stairs and grabbed my letter and quickly replaced my request with something more mature/adult like than ‘barbie dolls’ and put in a picture of a (Barbie) camera (since I couldn’t find any other pictures of cameras in the toy store advertisement booklets they dump in your letter box during Christmas time).

They ended up getting me a polaroid-camera which turned out to be a great present, but the whole Christmas experience was tainted by the sad truth that my parents were liars and deceivers.

It wasn’t like “ooooh Santa isn’t reaaaal – oh hohoho, that’s so funny, you really got me there!” and then the next moment all is forgiven and forgotten – No, no, no – I took this reaaaal serious.

I remember sitting on my bed the evening my sister told me, and when I was re-writing my Santa letter and going over the fact that they had been putting up this ‘alternate reality’ in essence, every year for the past 12 years, knowing they are presenting a lie. I looked at the amount of time and effort that had to go into keeping up this illusion every year and it was quite a bit of it!

So naturally I went: Jesus Christ, if they lie about this, if they go ‘this far’ to uphold something like this and didn’t even tell me the truth (had to find out from sister) WHAT ELSE ARE THEY LYING ABOUT.

I was heart-broken.

As a child, you have that absolute trust and confidence that you place in your parents, because after all: you are kind of defenceless in this world as a child, and so you trust your parents completely to ‘do the right thing’. That they stand as a point of absolute support, is assumed as ‘given’ when you’re a child.

Until it turns out that it isn’t.

Major illusion shattered right then and there.

I could barely look them in the eye.

The whole Santa thing is supposed to be a fun, magical, mystical experience for the child and where this ‘illusion’ is supposed to be a gift you give to the child where they can still experience these things and believe that the world is ‘a nice place’ before they reach adulthood and total disappointment in life on Earth.

Really, it’s only making it worse. If you want your child to experience ‘fun and magic’ – don’t uphold a fictitious reality and so by implication fictitious fun and magic. Rather, work on creating a real bond of trust, of communication with your child. Do it every moment of every day (in contrast to throwing the Santa show once a year), develop integrity and respect between yourself and your child – the type of fun and magic that emerges from this is a lot more valuable, and actually makes the world a better place.

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