Easter week is one of the best of the year. Spring is in the air. Popcorn is popping on the apricot trees. The weather is getting warm enough that tonight I grilled hot dogs on the patio with the kids and none of us even wore a jacket. (Take that, all you snow covered Utahns!)
Because it is Easter we can look forward to sacrament meetings that are focused on the Savior and the hope of eternal life that is offered to each of us through His redeeming sacrifice. I think good sacrament meetings will help pacify some of the LDS North Carolinians who are still a little miffed that General Priesthood was scheduled smack dab in the middle of UNC's Final Four game last Saturday. I couldn't tell if some of the "amen's" at Priesthood session were for the speakers or for the results the UNC-Villanova game being tracked on about a dozen Blackberries in the chapel.
From a food standpoint, Easter is great because Peeps are plentiful in the pantry. The Dollar Store is selling solid chocolate bunnies that weight about six pounds and are covered in that scarey white powdery stuff, but sometimes quantity trumps quality. Unhatched chicken babies are hanging out in the fridge just waiting to be hard boiled, colored, hidden in the back yard, and ultimately be deviled and devoured.
And speaking of the devil......
The downside of Easter week is the awkward uncomfortableness when the topic of the Easter Bunny gets broached in mixed company. There are three different camps that LDS people - especially parents of young children - fall into when discussing the Easter Bunny.
Camp #1 - The Nostalgics: This group of parents loves all of the traditions, stories, nostalgia and excitement of every holiday, Easter included. They want their kids to believe in fictional characters like Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns, and The United Nations (oops, that last one just slipped out.) The Nostalgics remember how exciting it was when they were kids laying awake in bed on Christmas Eve thinking that every bump, knock, or creak was really Santa landing his sled on the roof and shimmying down the chimney. These parents know that their children will eventually have to grow up, get acne and work at McDonalds, so they are going to do everything possible to help their children believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc. during those magical, wonderful childhood years.
There is a subset of The Nostalgics who want their children to believe in fictional holiday characters so that instead of doing real parenting they can simply scream threats like, "Stop hitting your sister or Santa won't give you anything this year, dang it!" Or, "If you fart in the minivan one more time the Easter Bunny will come up into your bed and attack you in your sleep. He has rabies, you know? His little teeth are pointy and sharp, too. You want that? YOU WANT THAT!!??"
Camp #2 - The Fundamentalists: This group essentially tells their children the truth about Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc. during the baby's name and blessing. They go out of their way to make sure that their children are not deceived about the reality - or lack thereof - of these silly "secular" traditions. They rent movies from the library like, Elmo's World: Santa Exposed! and The Veggie Tales Movie : That Dollar Under Your Pillow Came From Dad's Wallet!
There is one plain and simple reason that The Fundamentalists go out of their way to make sure their kids are not fooled by a fat, bearded present deliveryman or chocolate-bearing rodents - they are afraid that when their child finds out the truth about Santa that it will destroy their budding faith in the Almighty. These parents have concluded that one day their children will wake up and say, "If mom and dad lied to us about Santa and the Easter Bunny, then are they must also lying about Heavenly Father! And Joseph Smith! And John Stockton!" The Fundamentalists fear that the day their children learn the truth they will respond by going Goth, dying their hair blue and ditching Primary for underground raves. You will never see a robotic Rudolph with the moving, mechanical head grazing in the Fundamentalists' front yard.
Camp #3 - The Politicians: Just as John Kerry voted for the war before he voted against it, The Politicians do their best to pull a little bit of logic from both The Nostalgics and The Fundamentalists. These parents want their children to believe in Santa, Easter Bunny, etc. because it is a fun part of childhood, but they do not want to lie to their children, either. So The Politicians read books like The Polar Express but never actually say that Santa is real or that the Easter Bunny could attack them in their sleep. They perpetuate the myth, but never actually fully endorse it.
I have a number of smart, loving, wonderful friends and family members who fall into each of these three camps. You probably do, too. So who is right? Please please vote in the poll and post some comments to help me out on this one. Please refrain from bashing or demeaning the groups you disagree with because I would hate to see people get bent out of shape over an Easter blog post.
As for me, I'm a Politician.
In fact, I told the 7-year-old Normal Mormon Boy the truth about the Tooth Fairy a few weeks back after he kept badgering me with questions about her existence. The boy backed me into a corner and I didn't want to lie to him. Since I was coming clean I threw Santa and the Easter Bunny into the conversation as well.
To be honest, a little piece of me as a dad died that day. It made me realize that my son is growing up way too fast and before I know it he is going to be baptized, then morph into an awkward, gangly Deacon, and then ultimately get a super-secret mission call to a predominantly Muslim country that church headquarters will deny ever issuing. We will have to say he is serving in Iowa, but in reality.......
Assuming, of course, that my son still has faith in anything spiritual after learning that I was the one who put two dollars worth of change under his pillow because I had run out of ones.
This whole post turned out to be much more complex than I had originally intended. Please comment with your two cents to help give me some additional perspective.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go destroy a package of Peeps!
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