What do you think about telling children that there is a Santa Claus (or Father Christmas or St. Nicholas), alive today, who brings them presents? What did you do or say to them when they found out he’s imaginary?
Through the lens of the human spirit, we see a child’s nature to believe what we tell them. Trust is built or trust is broken. I wonder what would happen if we talked about Santa Claus and simply added, “Let’s pretend.” Let’s pretend that he comes on a white horse or in a sleigh with reindeer. Let’s pretend he brings presents for all good little boys and girls. Children have as much–or more–fun in pretending as they have in real life.
“Let’s play Love Park!” That was the greeting I got from a six-year-old yesterday as I walked through the front door to have coffee with his mother. The previous time I visited my friend, she had to make an important phone call, so I had sat on the floor with the two kids to play a while.
They have a big basket of plush toys and I said “Why don’t we take our animals to the park? The park can be this chair.” “Let’s call it Love Park,” said the older boy.
Immediately the animals were in midair chasing each other, swinging on imaginary swings. It was such a rip-roaring good time that the boys wanted to do it again yesterday.
Maybe St. Nick could be that way if we’re real about entering the enchanting imaginary world of a child.
What is amazing is how real their emotions are during imaginary play. My daughter is really scared when there’s a ‘crab’ in the bathtub or really happy when she is playing tag with her imaginary friend Kekpek.