Learning morals through fairy tales

Kids say the darnedest things. Sometimes it’s like having a comedian constantly in your house for your own entertainment. Parents, on the other hand, must, according to international law, tell everyone they meet exactly what cute thing their kids are saying. This is why they invented Facebook.

It’s also why I’m writing this column. My kids keep saying cute things, and I have to use every avenue I have to repeat them.

My oldest daughter, out of the blue, says “Daddy, what does America stand for?”

I didn’t even know she knew what America was, much less that it stood for anything. This was a great opportunity to teach a necessary patriotic lesson.

“Freedom and liberty,” was my reply.

“No,” she said. What? If it’s not freedom and liberty, what could America stand for? So I asked her.

“Free donuts for sale,” she said.

I don’t know how you lower the price on free donuts, but I’m sure there’s an American capitalist working on that.

A few minutes later she wanted me to put on a pair of fairy wings, which we have lying around the house in abundance. I said I didn’t think they would fit me.

“They go on your back, not your belly,” she said. I guess I better start losing weight. My belly is getting much too big to fit fairy wings on.

And then, somehow, we’ve started discussing the morals of the various movies they watch, all of which feature dainty young women in distress.

“I think the moral of Sleeping Beauty is that true love conquers all,” I said one day after watching it.

“I think the moral is don’t touch spindles without permission,” she said. That’s a pretty important moral for four-year-olds. If we ever run across a spindle, I know that she won’t be touching it. And that’s a good thing.

She also had a moral to The Little Mermaid. Now, I think the moral to Disney’s The Little Mermaid is parents are really, really stupid, and I don’t like it. Her moral I can get behind a lot more: “Don’t let mermaids out of the water.” At least these movies are teaching my girls morals they can live by.

Maybe it was a movie that taught our one-year-old to say please and thank you, because we don’t emphasize that particularly. Somehow, we have one of the most polite one-year-olds on the planet. She says thank you every time we give her something. That is exceptionally cute, but not as cute as when she wants something. When she wants something she says please. Though not just please, but pleeeeasse! A lot of babies her age don’t even talk at all, but we have one that’s demanding.

“Candy,” she says, “pllllleeeeeaaassse!”

Of course she gets it every time.

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