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Children have to be the funniest people on the earth. I remember when my boys (who are 14 months apart) were around 4 and 5, that we had taken them with us to a local buffet style restaurant. They were seated in their high chairs at the table with my wife, my mother and sister, and I had gone to the counter to fix their plates. As I was walking back to the table to bring them their food, I noticed that they were exceptionally animated, attempting to stand up from their chairs and point towards the ceiling. So when I approached the table, they exclaimed “Daddy, daddy! Spiderman was here!” Now, my mother and sister were cracking up laughing, and my wife just had this funny little smirk on her face. So I said to the boys, “I don’t see Spiderman, where is he?” So they both said “Look!”, and pointed to the chandelier above the table. So I looked up at the chandelier and noticed a cob web, and I immediately began cracking up laughing too because I knew that they truly believed that we had just missed the appearance of the Amazing Spiderman!
Now I’m no psychologist, and I certainly don’t claim to have all of the parenting answers. I am of the opinion however that children deserve the luxury of just being children. As a father its been my experience that there is a very fine line with regard to teaching children responsibility and with allowing them to grow and mature naturally. While the temptation was certainly there to explain and say to the boys, “Now boys, we know that Spiderman isn’t real, that’s just a cobweb that was left by a spider”, I felt like it was better to just allow them to live in their childish fantasy. For them it was magic! Just imagine: Spiderman was here, and he might show up at any moment!
What was more fun about that experience was that for a few moments I was allowed to be childish, too. I was able to enter into their fantasy world and anticipate with them when Spiderman might actually show up again! The boys are now 12 and 13 years old, and although they no longer believe in Spiderman (lol), my intention is to always allow them to be where they are in their life. Hopefully, this will allow me to maintain credibility with them. My goal is for them to NOT want to hurry up and get away from dad as soon as they’re grown. Hopefully as they enter manhood they’ll remember the good experiences they had with dad, and may even want to come over and hang for a little while.
Thanks for listening.
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