Manufacturing a Myth: A Dad's Guide to Lying to Your Kids About Leprechauns

What you need to know about leprechaunsWhat you need to know about leprechaunsThe Easter Bunny, Santa, and The Tooth Fairy are the Holy Trinity of mythical spirits that visit most homes. Our family, looking for any reason to give small gifts to our boys, has expanded the cast of characters that often break into our house to include The Elf On The Shelf, The Switch Witch, Cupid, and ... this month ... Leprechauns.

Some will dismsiss the Leprechauning trend as another example of 'lying to our kids', I embrace it as a chance to celebrate the unconditional belief anything is possible that children possess.

A bunny hops around the world leaving chocolate eggs? Awesome! A fat man has flying reindeer and lives in snow and ice and brings me presents? Bring it on! Leprechauns hibernate in our garage and make my milk green? Sounds like fun!

Related: 14 little ways to show your kids you love them

Over the past few years, the Leprechauning thing has gained popularity with parents. On the morning of St Patrick's Day you wake up to milk dyed green, messes in the kitchen, and perhaps some gold coins on a place mat at the kitchen table.

This year, our Leprechauns will do that, and they will also leave a seedling packet next to the gold coins for our 2 boys on our kitchen table.

Why do the Leprechauns do these things? Over breakfast this morning, my son and I had a very serious conversation about Leprechauns, the things they do, and why they do them. In essence, we manufactured a myth. I think we came up with a great backstory, with a wholesome Lorax-ish message at the end. The story works in our climate where there is snow until April (or even May in terrible years), your mileage may vary.

If you're about to start your own Leprechauning tradition this year, offer up this story as to the reason why we do this, or better yet, have a very serious conversation with your kids and come up with your own mythology.

Some call it lying, I call it storytelling, imagineering, and a celebrating the belief in impossibility becoming possible.

Here's how we did it:

1. The "Wh" questions
To manufacture a myth, you need to be able to answer all of the potential Who? What? When? Where? Why? questions. Over breakfast this morning, I asked my son these questions about Leprechauns and together we manufactured the myth behind our family traditions.

2. Where Do They Live?
We came to the conclusion that Leprechauns live in the forest where they are friends with all the animals and plants.

3. How Do They Get In Our House?
Over the winter, Leprechauns hibernate in our garage because it is too cold in the forest. Easy one to believe since we've had mice use this entry point in the past. They sleep in the wood struts of the garage over winter.

4. Why St Patrick's Day?
This is the day Leprechauns wake up. March 17 is an alarm clock for them, just like our alarms go off at 6am, or 730am, for Leprechauns it is March 17.

5. Why Are They Mischievious?
After a winter of slumber, the Leprechauns are feeling feisty, and they're a little clumsy after being asleep for so long. So you get messes in the kitchen as they look for snacks. After a long sleep they have to pee (just like the kids do in the morning) and it just so happens a Leprechaun's pee is green.

6. What Do Leprechauns Do?
This is where things got interesting in our storyboarding. Leprechauns live in the forest where they look after the flowers. That's why they love rainbows so much, because rainbows feed the flowers. It is a Leprechaun's job, each spring, to plant all the flowers that will blossom a few weeks later.

7. Why Do They Leave Gold Coins?
The Leprechauns need help planting all the flowers for the summer, so to say thank you for us helping them plant some flowers around our house, they leave a few coins of thanks next to the seed packets.

- By Buzz Bishop
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