|Lily and her caterpillar|
She was so inconsolable about it, worrying for her caterpillar being trampled on the street by someone. I promised her that someone surely would find it, pick it up and place it in one of the many flower boxes that cover the town. I told her that it will be quite happy there, and soon would turn into a beautiful butterfly.
It made her feel better, thinking about the caterpillar going on to become a butterfly; I, however, felt a little guilty about lying to her. I am not at all sure that someone would put it in a flower box. Most likely it will be trampled or die on the street, but I definitely did not want to tell her that.
Early on, Richard and I decided that we don’t want to lie to our kids. On some matters, like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, we’ll leave it up to them to believe whatever they want. Yes, I admit, we do use Santa as some sort of pressure keeping them in line the weeks before the holidays, but I am actually pretty sure that at least Lily does not fully believe in it. Heck, she’s seen me walk in the door with bags full of stuff the weeks before the holidays, and she’s a smart girl, she has figured it out, but still loves to put out cookies and milk for Santa. But in general, we refuse to lie to them. They know about the world, they know about life and death. They know where babies come from, as far as they have asked. We don’t believe in making them believe in a world that does not exist. However, I simply could not bring myself to tell her the truth about the caterpillar. Yes, there is a chance someone actually put it in a flower box, or that she has actually lost it on a patch of green, but that’s a fairly small chance. I don’t think the caterpillar made it, but it consoled her believing it did.
How do you raise your kids in this world, which is doubtless cruel at times? Do you agree with white lies or prefer the truth at all times? I am confused about it sometimes, especially since a friend of mine, who does not have kids, told me at some point that she thinks I’m ruining our girls’ childhood. I don’t think I do, they are happy, feisty, energetic little girls, who would definitely let me know if I was ruining something for them. Mostly, we feel fairly confident in the style we’re raising the girls, but I’m always open for new ways.