From the earliest years we are told countless fairy tales. The little girls are fed with all those stories where the handsome prince comes on the white horse saving the princess… And they live happily ever after… However, no one seems to realize that these repeated threads stay in the subconsciousness of the child, creating the false presumptions in their later life.
So this little girl grows up with an assumption that once she finds her prince, she will be happy. Many young girls, and boys as well, jump into relationships which do not fully satisfy them but they feel that they should be in a relationship in order to be happy. The little girl gets her prince, perhaps gets married and soon she realizes she isn’t happy. She starts to search for faults in herself. ‘I should be happy. I have everything.’, she thinks to herself. ‘There must be something wrong with me.’ All of this leads to further frustration and dissatisfaction with her situation. What the little girl inside her was never taught is that happiness comes from within. Her subconscious mind got quite the opposite suggestion – that she should look for happiness outside, in a handsome prince and a pretty dress. However, in order to truly realize herself and be content with her life, she needs to develop herself. She needs to learn to love and accept herself. Nothing can ever replace that.
If you are a parent reading this, I encourage you to consider more carefully what you put in your child’s mind, realize that this will in a significant part shape their future. And if you are a grown up person who still has this little child inside you, I will risk telling you that here’s your answer, this is where your desired happiness lies – it’s within you.
After publishing this article, I discovered that it created some debate. Some readers felt the author was suggesting we ban all fantasy stories and fairy tales. As a mother of four with a nine year old boy who loves J.R.R Tolkien and J.K Rowling and a four year old girl who is currently obsessed with Disney’s “Frozen”, I didn’t get this message at all (and it certainly wasn’t what I felt the author’s message was when we chose to reblog this post to “The Forever Years”). I believe the author is saying, to quote her, that parents should “consider more carefully” the material our kids watch and read, because seeds sewn in “the forever years” of our childhoods can stay with us for a lifetime. I took “consider more carefully” to mean having a balanced approach, perhaps discussing the difference between fantasy and reality with our children. I didn’t by any means feel that the author was suggesting we ban all fantasy, or take away the “magic” of childhood. If viewing or reading fantasy is balanced by discussions about the characters’ actions and motivations and the skill of the author in creating a believable fiction, this can add to the “magic”. My seven year old is a “realist” and once said to my older son “but why do you like things like ‘Lord of the Rings‘, they aren’t even real!”. My nine year old replied, “but it’s soooo cool that J.R.R Tolkien made all that up and makes it seem real!” My four year old daughter loves to play princesses and fairies, but still gets “time out” if she misbehaves and does age appropriate chores around the house. I do believe it’s a balance of fantasy (for fun, magic, escape…) and reality (life skills, humility). My daughter and I have also discussed the characters of “Frozen” and she came to her own conclusions: “most of the girls at Kindy like Elsa best, because she has magic powers, but I like Ana, because she has red hair like me and she has awesome adventures and she’s funny.” Perhaps sometimes we underestimate the perceptive capacity of life viewed “through the eyes of a child”.