This morning one of my students lost her tooth right in class! It was an exciting way to start the day. It was also kind of a terrifying way to start the day because I didn’t immediately realize she had lost her tooth when she got my attention and showed me a bloody gum-hole. I quickly remembered, however, that I was standing in a classroom full of first-graders who are constantly showing off their wiggly, loose teeth. I got her two plastic cups – one to put the tooth in and one to put water in (you know, to rinse that bloody gum-hole). I put the cup with the tooth in it on my desk so she could take it home later. Which prompted one student to question, “Is the tooth fairy going to go to her house tonight?” “I don’t know,” I answered. “Maybe!”
At which point another pip-squeak piped up and said, “The tooth fairy does not exist!!” He shook his
adorable little head and repeated himself. “The tooth fairy does not exist!” Not wanting to get into a big debate that may or may not have ended in tears and told-ya-so’s, I said, “Maybe the tooth fairy just doesn’t come to your house because you don’t believe in her. Anyway, the alphabet…” It mostly worked and we moved on. But it got me to thinking. You know, about the tooth fairy and well, lies.
When I was five or six or something my friend (who shall remain nameless although we grew up next door to each other and her name rhymes with Schmarolyn) told me that Santa Claus wasn’t real. I refused to believe it. It wasn’t that I questioned how the toys got under the tree or who made them or any of the practicalities of the situation. No, none of that. I refused to believe that Santa Claus didn’t exist because my parents would never lie to me and if Santa Claus isn’t real, that means they’ve been lying to me for my whole life about who puts my presents under the Christmas tree and about the whole existence of a person. (By the way, our grocery store already has all of the Christmas crap out. Tis the season here in this country without Halloween (it’s of Satan) and Thanksgiving (it’s an American holiday).)
Even as a little wiggly-toothed fix or six year old I understood the weight of dishonesty. “My parents don’t lie to me!” I remember telling that friend Schmarolyn. My parents don’t lie to me and therefore Santa is real. Which is tricky because technically telling someone, even a five-year-old someone, that a person named Santa flies around the world delivering presents to children is a lie. And technically lying is against the rules. The rules. The ten commanded rules sent down from the Lord above.
So here’s the thing about the Tooth Fairy. Is telling children that a fairy comes into their room at night to swap their teeth for money or telling children that a jolly ol’ guy shoves his jolly ol’ self down the chimney on Christmas Eve to leave them presents or telling children that the elf on the shelf is a spy from the North Pole (but seriously, I hate the elf on the shelf – for some reason it really gets me going) a lie? I mean, are those lies? Is “doing Santa” a sin?
No really, I’m asking. What’s your thing about the Tooth Fairy? Yea or nay?