Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A New Take on Believing

Brynna believes in ghosts. She's watched Ghost Hunters with me and my mom, heard us talk about it, and now she believes. Specifically, she believes that there is a ghost in a white nightgown with black hair all over her face in the girls' restroom at our community's oldest elementary school. She believes because a friend says she saw it.

Now, I certainly believe in ghosts. I have never had so much as a waiver in my belief of ghosts. And, I believe that children are more open to seeing them, so they often see what we, as adults cannot. I will not say that this kid didn't see a ghost. And because my Grandma went to school there, I know the building has been around a while. So, hauntings are possible there.

But, here's the thing: she's scared.

I told her that while I do believe in ghosts, I don't believe that they can hurt you. This is not entirely true, but close.

She believes in ghostly possession. And I swear, I never introduced her to this concept. I don't even watch horror movies with her anymore, so she hasn't gotten this from me. I have no idea where the belief in ghostly possession comes from, but she believes it.

She also believes that since there is a ghost in the school bathroom, there may be ghosts in every bathroom on the planet.

And for the first time, I'm wondering if perhaps I haven't done this wrong.

I've never told her that she shouldn't be scared of monsters because they don't exist or that ghosts aren't real or that fairies are just in your imagination. For one thing, I believe that you can't suck out the bad magic without sucking out the good magic too. But I also believe that all those things do exist. Okay, the real monsters in our world may be rapists and serial killers and the real fairies may be those friends who manage to always come through for you, but that doesn't make them any less real.

In my opinion, the world we live in is dismal enough without telling a five year old that magic doesn't exist.

On the other hand, maybe if I told her that ghosts weren't real, she might not believe me and still be a little less scared. I don't know. Maybe if I told her that not only were there no monsters under her bed, but no monsters anywhere, she might rest a little easier.

But maybe she would be that much quicker to rule out the existence of unicorns and mermaids, too.

On my fictional third hand, however, maybe that's alright. I think about all the times people have looked at me like my head was afire when I talked about supernatural issues. And I worry that at some point it will become a thing that most kids will have given up believing and Brynna won't.

Or maybe she will.

I mean, we don't always believe what our parents believe, right?

In any case, I think it's too late. She knows that I believe and telling her otherwise is just not going to work, but I just wonder. I wonder if it wouldn't have worked out better if I had pretended a little.

No comments: