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I'm sure I'm not the only one who has an uncle like that.
He also said that the round haybails you see out in fields in the country are caused by extreme winds.
A few *ahem* holiday related things are acceptable to me. I don't even want to introduce them to religion, I'd rather they decide what they want to believe when they're a bit older.
While it's technically a "lie", I don't think those do any harm, and actually think they help.
Obviously, at some point in your life you figured out it wasn't true. It didn't damage you and likely made you chuckle.
If everything taught to a child is 100% fact, the world would quickly become a very boring place in my opinion. There would be little imagination and humor left in them by the time they were an adult.
If you tell your kid a bedtime story, are you supposed to preface it with "Now..this isn't true..."?
My (almost) 3 year old little girl asks me almost every day where the moon is when she can't find it during the day. Am I supposed to explain to her the truth of why she can't see it? Nahhh ...it's sleeping.
And the Mystic Force helps me arrange .. Chocolates, Sweets, toys out of thin air.. when the Force cooperates, that is..
My six year old daughter and nephew , believe ..nah don't believe..then believe and laugh.. then don't believe and pull my leg.. It is great fun.
My mother told me the only cure was to take a freshly peed diaper and rub it on the freckles, that would make them fade. When you're 7, this doesn't sound like a bad thing. All I'll say is, of course it doesn't work.
What my wife was told is far better. She lived on a farm. Her grandmother told her she had to get up before sun up, take of all her clothes, go unto a cow field, and rub the morning dew from the grass all over her body. Before it dries, she had to sneak back in the house and back into bed without waking anyone up. If she was ever caught or found out, it wouldn't work. This ritual was to be performed a full 7 days in succession.
She was never caught, and it didn't work . . . either. :-)
Eventually I quit my job at the speakeasy and worked at a barrel factory carrying barrels. Which was plausible because our office building was a converted brewery with piles of antique barrels all over the place.
Now she's 5, and I'm not working in that converted barrel factory any more. Now when I go to work, I say I'm a spammer. I send millions of email messages to people all over the world telling them about things that are on sale. Which is perhaps closer to reality than being a bouncer, though I'm sure that'll bite me in the hiney some day. (btw, I am not a spammer - it's a lie, but it's more "truthy" than the other fake jobs I've held)
rocknbil, that is the funniest thing I've heard all week. The ritual your wife's gramma described sounds like going "a-maying", one of many rituals associated with May Day. Washing in May Dew to promote beauty is a very old, very real, tradition.
So what's the difference between preserving certain "holiday traditions" and the story of the pimentofish? To me they seem like the same thing.
Like the loud buzzing sound that a cicada bug makes. The same uncle taught me that was the sound of electricity going through overhead power lines.
When I was young, my family often used to drive by a Doggie Diner restaurant in a neighboring city. I always wanted to eat there because I was thrilled by the HUGE 3D 'weiner-dog head with a chef's hat' sign. Those of you have ever seen a Doggie Diner will know exactly what I mean. Those of you who haven't, well, there is always Google Image Search. ;)
Anyway, early on my mother told me that we could not go there to eat because diners were required to be formally dressed to even enter the establishment - and we drove right on by every single time.
Yes, I was pretty gullible; I actually believed it even though the place sold mainly served hot-dogs.
As I said, though, forgiveness has not been quick or sure.
Our family also had a gift for telling whoppers. They even had a name - "Terrydiddles". It was a game, and the goal was to get as many people as possible to beleive it as long as possible.
I remember one about it being so cold the headlight beams froze, preventing the car from being able to be pulled into the garage.
And then there was the time that I had my mother convinced that brick facades were laid from the top down. That is, afterall, the only way that one can guarantee that the bricks perfectly match the roofline ;)
I just told him that nobody really knows but it's supossed that it was a big explosion where the Earth, the Sun and galaxies born.
Then he back to his Spiderman toys. Now, probably, he thinks something about an explosion (like the Crypton explosion in Superman) in the origin of the Earth and he can play again with his favorite superhero.
I didn't lie to him. I didn't explained all of my own philosophy. We two stayed satisfied.
...and I think for myself "What a wonderful world".
I still used to be afraid of garbage trucks and go to the other side of the street when I saw a garbage truck somewhere until I was 10. I did not really believe what the man said but - just in case...
So harmless little jokes are ok I think, as long as you do not tell children lies that frighten them.
Myself, I trie to explain to my three year old nephew things instead of lying. Because the truth is often much more fun than a ly.
For example he wanted to know where his pee went after he used the bathroom. So I told him the pineapple juice he was drinking came over the sea from pacific islands with ships and then were made into juice which goes through his body and is converted into pee. The pee goes through pipes into the sewer and then into the sewage treatment plant and then into the river and from there into the sea where then the ships could sail on it to bring more pineapples. I even showed him on Google maps the way his pee would take from his house to the sea.
Every time he went to the bathroom after that for some time he would tell everybody he would now use the bathroom so that the ships could sail.
Drop a spoon, a woman is coming to your home. Not bad, but untrue.
Drop a fork, a man is coming to your home. Not bad, but untrue.
Drop a knife, an enemy is coming to your home. VERY bad, and untrue.
So every time you drop a knife (like after buttering morning toast or your veggies at dinner), you have to tell yourself, "NO, an enemy is NOT coming, that is nonsense and not true."
Nice thread. The word needs to get out that parents should *think* and watch what they say to kids.
Answering the question, I don't think it's immoral, it teaches them: if your parents are willing to spoof you, beware of anything anyone else tells you X 10. :-)
Every few years as adults we vote for our government; and we do so mostly based upon what the candidates tell us about themselves and their plans for us. If you've never had a chance to debunk pimento fish and the tooth fairy for yourself, how will you be able to see through the highly polished pitch of the wrong politician?
Likewise, I believe that knowing the importance of making your own decisions about truth and fiction is the very foundation of self confidence, the ability to form moral judgements, and eventually one's ability to interact effectively and successfully with society at large.
Several years ago, someone that I was almost related to told my young son that the quartz crystal my son was holding was alive.
But quartz crystals are alive. OK, not in the sense that we might understand, but they certainly have energy, which is a life force... more than I seem to have today, I'm just breathing and taking up space.
The only lesson I really tried to impart to my kid was that "all men are pigs". She didn't believe me back then, now she does. Sometimes the truth sounds too far fetched to be true.
When I was a kid I was on the beach and I found hundreds of these little oval-shaped, bright pink shells all over the place, ranging in color from pink to red. I collected as many as I could find, enough to fill a whole bag! I eventually showed my Mom, and she said "dear, those are just pistachio shells."
Pistachio Shells! Well, now I knew the name of them. Pistachios were obviously little shellfish, like tiny baby pink clams.
No one corrected this notion for quite a long time.
Be careful what you say to small children. They trust you without a doubt. I'm my 4 year old daughter's hero and I intend to stay that way for a while.
oh, and dont swallow gum because it stays in your stomach for 7 years...