The Non-Believer

Flora doesn’t believe in the Easter Bunny.

Or leprechauns. Or fairies (except for the Tooth Fairy).

“They aren’t real,” she asserts.

This breaks my heart. First, that she simply doesn’t believe anymore. I know that developmentally, 7 years old is probably a time that doubt starts to creep in anyway. But as an avid new reader of The Magic Treehouse series, I thought she would continue to have faith in the reality of make-believe.

Second, I’m a little worried that someone(s) at school has disabused her of this “nonsense”. She didn’t come to me *asking* if the Easter Bunny was real — she declared outright: “I know the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist.” (We were in Target.)

I have done a couple little tap dances around the subject. Acting surprised, asking, “Are you sure about that?”

But what I am most distressed about is her complete disregard for her sister’s belief.

“The leprechaun messed up the calendar today,” Kate told us yesterday when we picked her up from school. “He left little footprints all over the table, too.”

Flora jumped right in: “Leprechauns aren’t real.” And they proceeded to start to fight about it.

I got them redirected, “Flora, that’s just what *you* think. Look! Daffodils! Those are daddy’s favorite flower.”

But this is something I think I need to address with Flora one way or another.

Part of me wants to continue my current strategy of tap dancing and redirection.

Part of me wants to take Flora aside and explain that while fairies and leprechauns aren’t literally real doesn’t mean that she should spoil the magic for her younger siblings.

Most of me wishes that she still believed the magic herself.

Do your children believe in fairies? What would you do if they suddenly didn’t (or did)?

6 thoughts on “The Non-Believer

  1. I cried like a baby when my son stopped believing in Santa – he was older than most and he asked me to tell him the truth. And I could tell that he really meant it and it was time. But it killed me anyway. Emily still believes, but I can tell it’s becoming more of an she believes because she wants to believe and not because she actually believes, if that makes sense.

    • That makes complete sense. I kind of expected Flora to be more private about her doubt, rather than just declaring it. I am going to have a private word with her.

  2. This year was the first year Social Diva stated that she did not believe in the large red man who brings presents at Christmas. She was 11. I was happy to extend her belief as long as possible, but there’s a slight sigh of relief that I can now say ‘no’ to some gift requests. It’s a double-edged sword. Sad to see some of their childhood disappearing but looking forward (a little!) to watching them mature.

    • As far as Santa, we’ve always kept expectations low — the kids get 3 gifts, that’s it. 😉 But, yes, I do love watching them grow and become independent. I just didn’t expect my 7yo to suddenly throw fairies, leprachauns, and the Easter Bunny under the bus!

  3. I’m not sure I ever -really- gave up believing in hobbits or fairies or vampires, for that matter. It’s the difference between scientific truth and emotional truth. It is unlikely that those things exist in the way that we have them in books and stories, but “there is more to heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy.” Belief in something beyond your own logic makes a lot of things possible, including creative thought and paradigm shifts not to mention Christianity. How you explain that to a 7 year old is a little more difficult. I recall asking my 10 year old about other things that he did believe in that he couldn’t prove and talked to him about how not everything true is science, and not everything in science is true.

    • My children often ask me if I believe in fairies or Santa Claus, and my answer is that I do. Even if they aren’t literal truths, there is something about the magic of them that I don’t want to disappear from my life. And, yes, maybe that desire for the magic of fairies does translate in my ability to have faith in an omnipresent, loving God whose son died for our sins and was raised from the dead. I can be onboard with that.

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