CARTAS A PAPA NÖEL (Letters to Santa Claus) was born of the need to recover FAITH and INNOCENCE in their purest form.
I am not sure at what point it is that we as adults – parents, educators, the next door neighbour, any person who crosses you on the street – decide that the time has come to open children’s eyes and send them hurling into reality. We choose this moment according to what is socially established; we undo a wonderful world that we once created – or contributed to creating – and we show them a harder, harsher, more cruel world, that is completely exempt of magic. What was before was a lie, and what is now is the truth. And that is what we call growing up.
Maybe some children will find in this process a bittersweet welcome into the world of grown ups, and consider the jagged pill to swallow as the necessary toll to access privileges that were up until now denied. But without a doubt, most children must feel terribly disappointed; the doors to a world of fantasy, a world where someone else watches over them, where their hopes are attended to, where dreams are real, are suddenly slammed shut behind them.
I think we are mistaken. In a world where inexplicable things happen all the time, we cannot inhabit this space between reality and illusion through only reason. Perhaps, there is more than just one world of lies and one world of truths; and when we think we’re opening our children’s eyes to these absolute “truths”, we happen to also be closing them. J. J. Millás wrote a short story called “Los padres mienten”
(“Parents Lie”). In this short story, the protagonist’s mother decides one day that the protagonist needs to grow up, so she tells him that the Reyes Magos, the Three Wise Men, do not exist. “Se trata […] de una mentira que mantenemos durante la infancia, porque la infancia es una época de ilusiones fantásticas, pero tú ya no tienes edad…” (”It is a lie we maintain during childhood, because childhood is a period of fantastic dreams, but you’re too old for that now…”) Luckily, his older brother had warned him a few days earlier: “Dentro de poco te dirán que los Reyes Magos son los padres. Se lo dicen a todo el mundo al cumplir tu edad. No te lo creas. Los Reyes existen, pero como los mayores no saben el modo de explicar su existencia, dicen eso, que son los padres” (“Very soon, they’re going to tell you that the Three Wise Men are actually our parents. Everyone gets told when he or she turns your age. Don’t believe it. The Three Wise Men exist, but because grown-ups don’t know how to explain their existence, they say that these Wise Men are actually parents.”
In this story, the parents were not lying when they told their children that the Three Wise Men were real; they lied at the moment that they summoned their children to a meeting in which they assure them that they are telling the truth.
PARTE DE ART3 Vol.2/ Cartas a Papá Noël
Centro de Humanidades de la Sierra Norte, 2018