I make sure my daughter (age 3) loses regularly at Candyland. (Truth learned: you aren’t going to be a winner every time. And – losing sucks.)
I don’t tell her she writes like Shakespeare when her little “F” looks like a mangled strand of DNA. (Truth learned: it takes a lot of hard work to get better at something, particularly something difficult, like learning to manipulate a pencil in your chubby little 3 year old hands.)
I don’t tell her there are unicorns up in heaven with God. (Truth learned – fairy tales are fairy tales.)
I read stories to her every night. (Truth learned – stories don’t have to be true to be wonderful. In fact, the best stories are the ones which aren’t true. That’s why they’re stories.)
She knows that everyone she knows is going to die, and so is she. (Truth learned – everyone she knows is going to die, and so is she.)
*Corollary truth: The delicious, delicious meat she eats comes from dead animals. (Truth learned – The delicious, delicious meat she eats consists of dead pigs, cows, fish, chicken, and lambs.)
She knows the stork didn’t drop her little brother down the chimney. Mom and Dad doing the deed got that job done. (Truth learned: Sex exists. To which she shrugs her shoulders and goes back to playing. She doesn’t give a shit. She’s 3.)
She knows Dad doesn’t know everything, and sometimes doesn’t know shit. (Truth learned – No one knows everything. Question everything. Including yourself.)
I feel I will have done my job as a parent if my kids go forth into life with very, very sensitive bullshit meters. If they’ve got that, I don’t worry about their self-esteem. Their self-esteem will be just fine.
H/t Dead End Follies.