Two birthdays and countless chocolate eggs meant Easter was packed full of fun. It was also full of magic – or was it?! My dad, aka Grandy, shares his dilemma on keeping the magic alive for his grandchildren versus trying to keep it real.
Grandchildren pose all sorts of problems and dilemmas, particularly to a simple soul like me. In the rosy glow of retrospect raising children seemed simpler years ago. Should I tell my granddaughter she is pretty? That she is clever? Interestingly I have no difficulty in telling her she has been naughty! Should I encourage my grandson in his boisterous games or should I be developing his gentler side? Is ‘grandparent spoiling’ undermining parental authority?
However all these issues paled into insignificance recently when a truly moral dilemma emerged. It all started innocently enough. Scrip was pretending to be two magical unicorns – one at a time obviously – as well as herself and each time she appeared I had to ask to whom I was speaking: Daisy Unicorn, Ruby Unicorn or Scrip. Scrip was given magical powers via a fairy wand by the unicorns and we ‘saw’ non-frightening mythical figures appear and disappear in a friendly fashion with every wave of the wand and Scrip’s appropriate incantation.
Somehow this morphed into ‘reality’ as Scrip decided that her magical powers were such that she could make toast in the toaster and lo and behold she did – not realising that innocently a piece of bread was already gently browning there! She was so excited that I didn’t like to tell her what had really happened – a vivid imagination and suspension of disbelief is after all a blessing in my world.
Others then joined in and Scrip was able to make a flower in a vase in the kitchen disappear and re-appear by ‘recharging’ her wand in another room after each incantation. All this to her great excitement and delight. So far so good; although I did feel slightly shame-faced about playing on her youthful naivety but her delight and enjoyment allowed met put those feeling aside.
As mid-morning was approaching Scrip then went off and got dressed – ours is far from a formal house – although I hasten to add I was setting a good practical example as I was already fully dressed and showered! The moral dilemma first appeared when a thoughtful Scrip sat with her mid morning cocoa and said: ‘ Did I really magic those things or were you tricking me?’
I felt I had to tell the truth despite the fact that it would disappoint her, not just because she wasn’t really able to work magic but also because it revealed me as duplicitous and might undermine further trust in me and indeed the others who had been part of the magic session. I said that I hadn’t meant to be mean but admitted that I had ‘helped the magic tricks along’. Her face fell and she made off without a word leaving me wondering what was the right answer to her question or indeed whether I should have allowed a situation to arise where she could ask such a question.
My confusion was made worse later when Scrip’s Mum and Aunt said, in front of Scrip, that they were really surprised that I had tried to fool Scrip by telling her that she hadn’t worked real magic! What was I thinking, of course the magic was real? Scrip looked on apparently relishing my being exposed as a fraud. What was I to say? Damned if I agreed with my daughters’ accusations; damned if I stuck by my assertion that the magic wasn’t real.
Feebly I argued that I had simply agreed with Scrip’s doubts since ‘honesty is the best policy’ but I am far from sure that in this instance it was. Is there an absolute set of rules to be followed when interacting with the young or are all rules relative? Answers on a post card please…