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So I just had a wonderful weekend with my children.  I am truly fortunate to have these kids in my life.  Period.

On the last day, we went to  a movie.  The youngest had been asking to see Nanny McPhee Returns  (“small C, big P”…hehe).  It was actually a lot better than I had anticipated and we all had fun.

I question, however, the subtle Hollywood message that seems to be the staple of kids’ movies.  It seems to be “Just believe…and miracles will happen.”  I admit that it makes for a cool movie, but does it really do our children a favor?

You see, the hero in this movie was the young boy who just knows deep in his heart that his Dad is alive in spite of the telegram from the war office announcing his death. He sets out to prove it (and that was the good part) and low and behold he IS alive!  But what about those kids who did lose a Dad to war and just “knew” he was alive…but he wasn’t?  Isn’t denial a common reaction to death?  Why glorify the denial?  Glorify the search for proof!

In my 13+ years as a father I am amazed and fascinated by children’s imaginations.  I don’t really see a dearth in a willingness to believe… in, well, pretty much anything! At various times, my kids have believed in the following:  An imaginary giraffe, ghosts, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, & The Tooth Fairy.  One child believed that her dead grandmother was speaking to her.

I love their imaginations and believing in the fantastical is an age appropriate behavior that maturity eventually adjusts.  We all have fond memories of believing in Santa Claus!  But is it really helpful to teach our kids that we should go back to that? Once you know you can’t go back.

What most children lack are critical thinking skills.  They need the ability to look at a charlatan, or a hoax and discover it.  Kids need help learning to watch a TV Commercial and realize how they are being manipulated.  I want my kids to recognize propaganda and manipulation.

I’m not saying that I want to tell my 6 year old that I’m Santa.  I don’t want to raise cynics… just smart teenagers and adults who know how to avoid the most common pitfalls all around them.

“Mormonism is to naive white people what Nazi Germany was to bad people.”

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