As an educator of young minds, there are many times when I am required to keep it zipped and either:
a) Say nothing at all and bite my tongue or;
b) Tell bare-faced or outrageous lies.
Earlier this year I put my foot in it, accidentally, during a heated (as heated as 7-8 year olds can get) debate within class about the validity of Father Christmas as a real and living entity. As a passing comment I mentioned that he was not, in fact, like the imaginary mythical beast which is the Easter Bunny… ERROR!
There were no warning alarms at the time that anything was amiss. My comment had hit and sunk in and there was nothing more to declare. However, the following day, I was called to the office by a senior member of staff. I was swiftly informed that a disgruntled parent had been in to speak about my lack of care and consideration for their child’s beliefs. Baffled by this new development (that I was supposed to have added the Easter bunny into the realm of Santa and the tooth fairy), I went to speak, and apologise, to the child. This was not their fault, I had let them down. As a trusted giver of information, I had abused my position and told the truth.
When quizzed about what exactly this sneaky bunny does I found out that he, in fact, is just like the white-bearded ninja (aka Santa)! He/ she (gender unknown) sneaks into your house when you are asleep and hides all the chocolate eggs around the house for you to find in the morning….. WHAT!?!
I was informed that, unlike the kingpin of elves (aka Santa), the rabbit does not arrive via a chimney stack (that just isn’t his style – and how would he get onto the roof in the first place?) but that parents leave doors or windows open so that he/she/it can get in.
I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why this is necessary.
My issue is not so much with the idea of the bunny, but the fact that it is now so integrated into the Easter tradition that it has become belief for some. I teach about the Biblical Easter story and the symbols, traditions and the religious belief system associated with it (even to 7 and 8 year olds!). At what point does a rabbit take part in this? Did Jesus secretly breed and sell rabbits? Or was he really a chocolatier and not the son of God? All I know is that I am treading on egg-shells – and not only as part of a tooth-decay science experiment this time.
I wonder what else I am supposed to let them blindly believe… who knows. Next time, however, I will be making sure that I only ask and listen. That should work.
Well, I managed to gloss over the issue with a cobbled anecdote about some fools not believing in the tooth fairy which, as we all know, is absolutely 100% fact. And that was the end of that. Until next time…