Or more to the point, why would I need justification for doing so from the Tooth Fairy? The Daily Post asks if the Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus …) is just a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children.
Think about it: How exactly can the Easter Bunny justify a lie? If I’m the sort of person who needs justification for lying to my kids, I obviously am up to no good. I’m out to save my own neck. So what part of my neck does the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy save? The part that gives them candy, gifts, or money?
If not saving my own neck, then why lie? Seems to me, I could get credit for all these gifts, and a few thank-yous or even hugs. So why give credit for my generosity and gift-giving to some imaginary creature?
Unless it’s part of the gift. Imagine me watching my children with their wide-open eyes. Is that the payoff? A little gift to me, the joy of seeing them so happy? That must be part of it. But it can’t be all there is. That innocent belief only lasts a short while. The pretending usually goes on longer.
So what else could it be that I give them when I tell these absurd tales? The gift of wonder, the art of pretending that there’s more than meets the eye. And if you do it well enough, among people you trust, you start to believe it. And when you believe it, even if only in a pretending sort of way, life gets richer. The landscape of your soul gets deeper. You become open to things outside of your literal, rational self. You imagine things, dimensions–fair realms, ensouled trees, men in moons, sentient squirrels, dancing elves. And that gives you joy.
That’s the gift, I think. So why would I lie to my kids? I’m entering their imaginary play.