“If She Lied About the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, Then Who’s To Say She Didn’t Lie about God?”

This is an actual google search that landed on my website about a year and a half ago.

And to tell you the truth, this is scary.  It’s a very good question and one of the reasons my husband and I chose not to do Santa Clause, the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, or anything else that’s make-believe.

Since God cannot physically be seen (like Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy), it requires a certain amount of belief on man’s part that He is out there (this is called faith).  Of course, people do see God or experience His presence or get a word from Him.  But for the most part, these are few and far between and not everyone has these experiences.

I believe when kids discover that Mommy and Daddy are really the tooth fairy or Santa, they are confused, disappointed and feel let down.  People feel this about God as well.  We become angry at God when we don’t understand what He is doing in our life or bad things happen.  Little kids feel the same way.  They don’t understand.  It is our job to give them the tools (the faith) to understand (as much as God allows us to anyway).

You can argue the innocence in believing in Santa Clause all day long with me.  What it boils down to (for me) is this:

In this fleeting world, I want my kids to know they can come to me with anything and they will get the truth.  When TV, the Internet, or their friends tell them one thing and I say another, I don’t want them to ever doubt who’s telling the truth:  me.

Nor do I ever want them to doubt who’s really watching if they are good or not:  God.  I don’t want my kids to behave  or do the right thing because of Santa Clause.  I want them to behave and do what is right because God is watching them.  I don’t want them to think Easter is about some floppy bunny.  Easter is about what Jesus did on the cross for them and everyone else.  Period.  Nothing else.

And the Tooth Fairy.  You have to draw the line somewhere.  And to me this is the most fantastical.  I won’t pretend to say I know how this myth got started but to ask my children to believe some little person with wings flies in and puts money under your pillow all because you lost a tooth is a BIG stretch, don’t you think?

I’m all about imagination.  But I want my kids to know it’s imagination.  And I want my kids to know what’s real.  But most importantly, I want my kids to know WHO gave them the brain to imagine:  God.  And it’s all about Him.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

End Note:  This is a very old post I decided to resurrect after being accused of ruining a little girl’s belief in the tooth fairy because she googled and found a previous post of mine (read this and the argument I had with her mother HERE).

I want to urge parents to think through these decisions instead of blindly following society’s lead that emphasizes secularism.  I believe faith in God is crucial in this world–not only to get to heaven but to survive in this increasing-chaotic society we live in.  Faith is the crux.  And if children don’t have faith in their parents to tell them the truth in this world how will they have faith in God?

This is my opinion of course and you are given the Free Will by God Almighty to choose what you like.

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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

 

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua chronicles Ms. Chua, a child of Chinese immigrants, as she raises her two daughters in the Chinese parenting model.

She pushes both girls to be the best in everything, never settling for second-place (as Ms. Chua explains most Chinese parents do).  Both must practice their instruments (piano and violin) for 2-3 hours a day, every day.  Both must excel in school and be fluent in Chinese and she pushes them relentlessly to achieve as much.

She calls this “The Virtuous Circle”, which she explains on P. 29 of her book.  She propounds what Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you are good at it.  To be good at anything, you have to work.  Kids don’t inherently want to work so parents much push them.  Practice is the key.  Once the child starts excelling, the child receives praise from others, builds confidence, and makes the activity fun.  This will then created intrinsic satisfaction on the child’s part and he or she will want to work.

For her first daughter, Sophia, this works brilliantly.  Sophia works hard and is rewarded when she wins a contest and plays at Carnegie Hall.  For her second daughter, Lulu, this method creates all-out fights, screams, and general mayhem escalating to the point Lulu finally quits violin.

Chua says this method is magical when it works but she does finally admit on P. 212 that Chinese parenting doesn’t always succeed like in the case of her daughter, Lulu.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother offers a fascinating insight into Chinese culture and why so many of these kids are excelling.  While definitely not agreeing with some of Ms. Chua’s parenting styles (like screaming at her kids for hours a day and using threats for coercion), I did glean how we as parents need to guide our children who are still children. However, I think a gentle steering and encouragement would be a better approach and still produce wonders in your child. Suffice it to say you are guaranteed to learn something from this book.

Favorite quotes from the book:

“Just because you love something…doesn’t mean you’ll ever be great.  Not if you don’t work.” P. 215

“There is nothing better to spend our money on than our children.” P. 111

“It’s too idealistic to expect children to do the right things on their own.” P. 104  I liked this one because I tend to think my kids know right from wrong.  But a lot of the times they don’t.  That’s my job to teach them this.

“Winning prizes gives you opportunities, and that’s freedom.”  P. 193  I liked this one due to its implications to foreigners.  We Americans forget that we live in the greatest country on earth and many, many others want to come here.  It’s hard for us to understand cut-throat competitions when so much is hanging on the results, so much that we don’t even realize.

Winning the Olympics or having talent (like musicality) can be the pathway to the United States. I think this is why immigrant-kids are pushed so hard and work so much harder. It’s not about the medal, trophy, or prize at the end.  It’s about a way of life.  Ms. Chua touched on this point very briefly in her book.

What’s Worse: What You Know or What You Don’t Know?

I have a “car book” that I read only in the car.  I finally finished it after 8 months last week!  Yeah!  I love historical fiction but rarely get to indulge in it.

In Ireland by Frank Delaney, a boy learns the woman who he thought was his mother is really his aunt and his aunt is really his mother.  So the above question was posed:  “Which is the worst, huh, what we know or what we don’t know?” P. 479

I started thinking about this in my own life.  As many of you know, I have struggled this whole year with my kids’ school and deciding whether or not to homeschool in the future.  If I hadn’t of homeschooled before, I wouldn’t be having this dilemma.  If I hadn’t of known there was a better option, I’d be quite content with my kids in public schools.

But I do know.  I know I can do a better job.  I know I can save a lot of money, time, and hassle doing it myself.  I know my kids thrive on the challenge at home.  I also know they are both acing public school because they know so much from what I taught them.  I know my oldest daughter questions all the time why public schools do things (for the 1% who can’t follow the rules).  I know I have a passion for teaching and learning and for teaching and learning the Bible that I can pass on to them.

But if I didn’t know all of this….I’d be quite content in my ignorance without some of the hassles of my mind.

The boy in the book–his whole world was turned upside down with his new knowledge.  He was frantic.  And 2 pages later is the best answer I’ve heard when a girl asks the boy:

“What’s the good news inside it?  There’s always good news wrapped up in bad news?”

For the boy, a lot was explained about his childhood: why his “mother” acted the way she did, why his “aunt” acted her way, why his grandfather left the family, etc.

There are many of these examples in my life and probably in yours:  where we know things we wish we didn’t and where we didn’t know things we wish we would have sooner.  For the former, homeschooling. For the later, BSF and things about the Bible I wish I had known sooner.

For me, the good news about homeschooling is there’s options in life.  I know I have choices about my kids’ education.  I know I can teach.  I know my kids can learn.  And I know homeschooling is a viable option for me and my family.

For me, I’d rather know.  I don’t like living in the dark no matter how painful or life-altering the news may be.

In the end, the boy found peace.  And so have I.

I Am Paranoid…

I went to open my coffee creamer I just bought over the weekend and it didn’t have a security tag on it and it appeared someone had taken some out of it.  I’m the only adult in the house right now and I know I didn’t open it and my kids are too little to accomplish such a task.

So, it’s going back to the store.

You may think I’m paranoid about this but this isn’t the first time this has happened to me.

I once bought a bakery cake that had a whole slice missing!  I didn’t notice it until I got home and I was so mad I had to drive all the way back to the store to exchange it.

So, it’s an inconvenience (and a bummer since drinking coffee with milk is not quite the same) but one I can deal with.

I am taking no chances on being poisoned here.  I know, it’s a long shot.  But I don’t want a repeat of the Tylenol deaths.  I always assume the worst in these things and am glad I do.  Bad things happen and as a parent it’s up to me to do my utmost to prevent the ones that are preventable, which includes protecting Mommy as well.

I got too much to live for.  Don’t you?

Pillow Pets

Normally, I don’t engage in what’s ‘cool’, ‘hip’, or ‘trendy’.  But I have to admit, I took the plunge this past weekend when I bought my kids the hugely-popular Pillow Pets.

Admittedly, I have been a stalker in this arena.  Ever since Christmas I wanted to get one for my son–a Dino Pillow Pet but the ones they had just didn’t seem quite right.

Finally, Pillow Pets released the one I was waiting for:  a blue Triceratops.  Blue was the key.  The other Dino pillow pets were not blue.  This doesn’t work for my son.

For those not in the know, a Pillow Pet is a lot like what its name says:  a pillow on the underside with a pet on the top.  They have a velcro strap that allows the animal to sit up when not being laid on.  There are dozens of different kids of pets to choose from:  horses, pigs, lady bugs, dogs, cats, dinosaurs, bears, frogs, etc.  They just came out with a dragon one and a bunny one.  I almost bought one for myself!

I am constantly amazed at what’s out there these days for kids.  I wish I had a Pillow Pet when I was a kid.

The story of Pillow Pets is a lot like that of Crocs.  A company that was started by a mother who had an idea for her kids and it took off.  She saw a need and filled it.  You can read it here.

My kids love these!  They are soft and really are comfortable to sleep on (I tested them!) and very soft.  They are the perfect size for little heads.  I had no arguments to go to sleep the first night!

They are a bit on the pricey side for a pillow (we paid $30 for the new ones.  The older ones–the ones which have been out for a bit–you can find at Wal-Mart and Target for $20) but since I don’t splurge often these were well worth it.  Highly recommended as a toy and a pillow!

I’ve Created a Monster…

I drop off my girls at school and am driving home.  We happen to drive by the library.  My son says, “Me go to library.”

“Not now,” I reply.  “It’s not open yet.”

Well, he proceeds to kick and scream because we can’t go to the library.

“Me want books,” he says.

“I know, baby, but we’ll have to go some other time.”

“No!” he screams and kicks some more.

When we used to go to the library, my son would be happy with only a few books.  Now, he pulls book after book off the shelves and he ends up getting close to a dozen (and that’s just him).

I try to limit our library visits to just once a week because my husband can’t take the library books that lie around our house in piles and frequently across the floor.

My children play a game where they check out library books.  The other day they were selling library books to each other complete with play money–bartering in effect.

It’s not just my son who has a problem.  He got it from me.

Last weekend, I was putting books on hold and suddenly the computer comes back at me and says, “Error.  Please check your account at the information desk.”

Well, I thought.  I’ll just use my other daughter’s account.

Same message on her account.

So on Monday I ask the librarian.  She kindly informs me that there is a 20-item limit on each account for the number of holds placed.

I quietly think to myself, Maybe it’s time my son opens an account.

Yep, I’m a monster too.

Ah, The Things We Do for Our Children…

My fingers are covered in superglue right now.  It’s hard to type.

Last night, I heard a loud crash at around 11 pm and I knew immediately what it was.  Sure enough, in slinks my dog with a penitent look.  I get up out of bed and my son’s ceramic dinosaur that he painted is in at least a dozen pieces scattered all over my kitchen floor.

You see, my dog had jumped up on the kitchen table, hoping for some scraps from last night’s dinner, inadvertently knocking the dino to the floor.

I picked them up, knowing I’d face tears in the morning.

I got up early (as usual) and after IChatting with my husband (who’s on the night shift so he’s going to bed when I get up), I started supergluing this dinosaur together.  I wrestled with this thing for 45 minutes since some of the pieces were quite small.

Needless to say, I got it all over me and some of the pieces don’t quite fit right.

So, while I suffer with glued fingers for the next few days, my  3 year old son is happy.

That’s all that matters in parenting land.

I would love to hear some of your stories of what you’ve done to keep the peace–if only for that moment!