Mental Flush

Here in the U.S. we all lie to our kids. The big one, the one we pretty much universally agree on and collude on, is Santa Claus.

We think it’s cute.

We think it’s cute because we know they’ll grow out of it. Or is it that we think it’s cute because we get away with it, but we think it’s harmless because they’ll grow out of it.

I’ve got a friend who was raising a young boy. From the time he began potty training she started teaching him that if he worked at it he could learn to flush the toilet with just the power of his mind. She taught him to always try that first and then, only when he failed, to flush manually.

Her plan was to see how he reacted on the day they went to an amusement park, or some other place that has those infrared driven automatically flushing toilets.

It was cute. It was harmless.

It also didn’t work. Somebody blew her effort by wising the kid up before the test ever came.

So I was thinking about all of this when God came by and I asked her what she thought about it. And I asked her if there were any things she knew about that most people continued to believe in long after they should have wised up.

She just smiled and turned away.

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1 Comment

On August 1, 2007 at 1:40 am

I don’t care as much about cute. I care about harmless. I also care about magic. I lie to kids because when we believe in the magic it’s as good as real. So I live in a world where Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy can both visit in the night and found pennies bring good luck and falling stars and dandelions grant wishes and spinning dizzy on the lawn isn’t a fool waste of time. And maybe the kids will grow up to be sensible folk who don’t try to flush toilets, or draw royal flushes, by focusing and hoping. But maybe they’ll grow up to spread a little magic with a wink and smile. I like the latter myself.


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