Us grown-ups have a pretty messed up relationship with reality. Even though we’re not really sure what it is, we’re all pretty certain it is something which is required in just about every aspect of life. Things must be ‘real’ or ‘true’ to have any sort of value. In the instances where reality is not a requirement it is still a huge asset. A lot of really, really crappy movies have been made in spite of everyone acknowledging that crappiness at a first glance upon the script. But, well, the story really happened. We can market that. On the other hand, when you’ve sold something as ‘real’ and this turns out to be a little bit beside the truth…
Say you’re at a party and you’re telling a story about how that very morning when you walked in a Starbucks to get a coffee and notice the person waiting in line in front of you is no other than George Clooney. Not a look-a-like, but actually George Clooney. So you jokingly told him that Starbucks didn’t do Nespresso and he laudghed and bought you a tall Machiatto. Really. True story. Chances are you will be the center of attention as long as you’re able to tell a story. And many will have all sorts of questions like “how tall was he?” “what did he roder for himself?””Did you get his autograph?”. Everything you have to say about your rendez vous with Hollywood stardom will be interesting. Right up to the moment where you say: “Naaaaahhhh…. didn’t actually happen. Could’ve happened though. And wasn’t it a good story?”
It probably was, but no one will thank you for it. Everyone will feel cheated. It wasn’t the story which was important, it was the fact that it really happened. Really.
I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
Children approach reality differently. For kids something can be both real and not real at the same time (like Santa Claus). And I do not mean that they can look at reality in a teenage-philisophical manner, I mean that more realities can exist simultaneously. Really exist. For children, the moon can be both millions of miles away and at a walking distance. But we’re the adults and we are bigger than they are. So we tell them that we understand these things better and they will grow out of this phase where they believe these bizarre things. Simultaneous truths? Ha, preposterous! Through the years we have understood that children don’t like much of our food, not because they are ‘difficult’ or because they have to get used to our complex flavours, it’s because they taste more than we do. Their eyes are better, so are their ears. It seems all your sense dull as we age. Maybe the same goes for our sense of reality?
Don’t think of a green frog
But maybe it helps is you try to stay a kid. Deep inside. Just think of Kermit. Is Kermit real? Or is he just a moving heap of green felt that does whatever the puppeteer wants it to? most people who have ever had a conversation with Kermit say that they quickly forget about the puppeteers. They talk to the frog. The same way they talked to him when Jim Henson was still alive. The same way they talked to him whan Brian Henson was still his voice. Kermit is real. He is just in a different realm of reality than where we, adults, feel comfortable.
So the next time your child tells you an amazing, unbelievable, larger than life story. don’;t get annoyed and tell him/her not to lie (It’s not like you never lie…). Just because your child is still able to live several truths at the same time while you have lost that ability is no reason to get angry with your kid. And as long as it’s an amazing, unbelievable, larger than live story, it’s probably also a great story. So who cares about the thruth anyway?
Strong opinions towards the truth…