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Life around the world

The things our parents told us

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If you’re following this blog, you’re probably at the age when you realise that your parents haven’t always told you the truth. I’m not talking about big secrets or conspiracies, I’m talking about those little white lies parents tell their children to make the world seem brighter, or kinder, or less confusing. The tooth fairy is a classic example. The thought of losing a tooth, of tasting blood in your mouth, of having a horrible squidgy gap in your gum, becomes much less scary when you think about the tooth fairy. ‘The tooth fairy’, my Mum used to say, ‘will be very grateful for your tooth. She will use it to build a new house, with other children’s little fallen-out teeth.’ It sounds a bit weird now, but it sounded beautiful as a child. And the tooth fairy used to bring money, too, which was definitely an advantage!

And then there was Mum’s explanation of thunder...
The weather in Europe is bizarre at the moment. I’m not just saying this because I’m English (and we tend to talk about the weather) – over the last week or so in Berlin, there have been spells of thunder and lightning and torrential rain which have lasted for hours at a time.  Hearing the thunder reminds me of what my Mum used to tell my sisters and me during a storm: “Don’t worry”, she used to say say, “it’s just God moving his furniture around.” We are a Catholic family, so this made perfect sense to me – after all, who else could be making all that noise in the sky?
But then a couple of nights ago, in the middle of a particularly loud storm, I mentioned my Mum’s explanation of thunder in my Facebook status. It was then that I realised that other peoples’ parents had told them different stories. One of my German friends ‘commented’ saying that his Mum had told him the thunder was just someone playing skittles or bowling (the German word is ‘kegeln’) in the sky. I asked him who he imagined bowling up there, and he said birds, angels, and Frau Holle (a character from German children’s stories). I then asked a colleague at work the following day. She’s from England, too, and she said that she was told the thunder was Winnie the Pooh’s tummy rumbling because he was hungry!

Of course, now that I am (almost) a grown-up, I know that the real reason for thunder is something ‘sciencey.’ I don’t really understand it, but I know it’s to do with the weather, and air pressure, and shock waves. But it’s still my Mum’s explanation that springs to mind every time I hear a peal of thunder. I think of God rearranging his magnificently large sofas and armchairs; I think of God opening and closing his huge, golden, God-sized drawers and wardrobes. And I find it really exciting to think that, all over the world, other people might be thinking back to the stories their parents told them to make them feel safe in the storm.


Did your parents tell you any 'creative' stories when you were a child?
Do children believe in the tooth fairy in your country?


hermione123's picture
hermione123 7 August, 2021 - 14:51

My mom didn't make up imaginative stories. If i had questions or scared of something, she would explain it in the scientific way but a lot simpler. And i don't think i was scared of so many things, so i never ask a lot of questions.

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catastrophe's picture
catastrophe 2 July, 2017 - 10:09

Hey, Tooth Fairy! I used to remember that. But I never remembered my mum making up stories, actually. She used to tell me the truth in an understandable manner. Like, when thunder used to strike, what she said was that "It's nothing, just two clouds banging on each other. And the lightning is a shock. Just like you throw things around when you're angry, they don't have anything but electricity. It's just that; keep safe, and you'll be fine."
But I read about them in books and watched them on TV, so I used to believe in them. Even still, I guess. Yeah, the wishing hair. Hey, here's one. Now I just wished something, and I hope it's granted!!! :))))

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ann02's picture
ann02 27 September, 2016 - 18:42

When I was a little girl I believed in the stories that my mom told me. One of those stories was about the sun and the moon. Once upon a time I asked to my mom:"how the sun and the moon hang in the sky?". My mom answered:"the sun and the moon hang in the sky because God hold them for the big rope". Thereat I believed in this story and told this story to my friends. So when I and my friends found out at the school lessons how the sun and the moon hang in the sky, we were confused.
In my country many children believe in the tooth fairy, but in my country this story is a little bit different. Yes, we should put our tooth under the pillow and wait for the present that tooth fairy will give us. But before we put our tooth under the pillow we should say:"please take this old tooth and bring me a new one".

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iva10's picture
iva10 3 September, 2015 - 17:31

No they didn't tell me any creative stories but they read me book when i was little.It was realy nice and because of that i 've going to the library five times a week so that a can take a book.Last year i've read more than ten books.But this year am going to read more than fifteen.

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hadia's picture
hadia 13 April, 2015 - 08:56

Well! My mom also used to tell me stories but only at the time, when I didn't listen to her . Talking about the tooth fairy, yeah i believed in the beginning that it might be true but then one day I caught my mom taking the tooth and putting money under my pillow. Afterwards I along with my siblings started to do the same thing with our youngest brother and it was a lot of fun

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patchyplum's picture
patchyplum 11 January, 2015 - 08:27

loads of times.Here our milk tooth is thrown onto the roof saying that squirrels come to carry them.I can remember i insist my mom to let me throw my tooth when she says that you are not tall enought for that.The thunder rolling is ver same here whereas she says that the y are having a game of balls...I still love those.

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Oliii98's picture
Oliii98 28 October, 2013 - 15:12

I didn't use to trust in much of stories like this, because my mum didn't use to tell me them. I only remember I was writting a letter to Santa Clous not because I believed he is real, but because it was fun for me :)

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justcricketforme's picture
justcricketforme 23 October, 2013 - 13:00

Yes, children here blieve in tooth fairies. My mum and dad told me all kinds of stories like, when it thunders, it means that God is angry with you, when you lie, your tongue turns black in colour and all sorts of stories.

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saba's picture
saba 15 September, 2013 - 17:40

we don't have the tooth fairy in iran but my parents wanted me to belive the tooth fairy when i was a kid and they took my tooth witch i had put under my pilow and they put 10$ and a tooth brush and tooth paste in exchange but i wouldn't belive the toothfairy and i knew it was my parents all along

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Teen1211's picture
Teen1211 9 September, 2013 - 18:14

The tooth fairy in my country is called ''Perez mouse''or '' El raton perez (in spanish) but it didn' t work with some girls because they were afraid about mice.

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diana777's picture
diana777 28 July, 2013 - 14:16

You may be surprised but still now whenever I hear the thunder I'm always afraid and I don't remember what I used to think when I was a child.But I remember when it was raining I thought that God was crying because something bad had happened on the earth.

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June's picture
June 2 May, 2013 - 03:41

My mom has never told me any stories. She just bought me many fairy books then I read them. Thanks to that, I knew how to read when I was very small :)). She has never taught me this, taught me that. She just told me to be careful because there are many evil people in this world. So I used to think that all people are not good >.<. I have taught me every lesson in my life without my parents' advices. I usually tell myself that: "Hey! You have to be good, kind!"; "You were born to help people"; so on.... Sometimes, I find it really ridiculous.
My mom often complains that I'm not as clever as my friends. Yes, my friends have their own groups and they usually dump me out of their groups if I do something that makes them unhappy. I used to cry a lot. But I always believe in fairies, that good people will have good endings. But we have to know that, nobody will help us to solve our problems. We have to stand up and cope with our problems by myself. We just feel that they are watching over us and praying for us from somewhere.

>> Thanks guys. You let me know many stories that I have never heard before. Your moms are so great. One of my favourite speeches is that: We have to learn how to be a child before being an adult.

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MALINE's picture
MALINE 31 March, 2013 - 16:05

Yeah,my mom used to tell me stories about the "tooth mouse", here in México we say that is a mouse instead of a fairy,I looked forward to the tooth mouse becauese he always left me $30 and you could buy many candies or you could save that money. Another white lie that I remember was when my little sister didn´t want to go to the kindergarden my mom used to tell her that all baby animals went to school too and she had to follow their steps and my sister went to the school with a big smile on her face thinking about those animals taking classes.

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Natalija's picture
Natalija 13 March, 2013 - 20:55

My parents used to tell me such stories, but I didn't trust them, in the most of cases. But of course, when you are little, your imagination is on the highest level, so you often believe in fairies and things like that. I would agree with Ilda and say that nowadays children are very smart and don't believe anymore in fairies, but that's due to computers and a new technology, which make children to grow up too fast. I believe that there is nothing like fairies and that's the biggest chance of being a child.
P.S. I have never heard about tooth fairy;(.

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Lemon's picture
Lemon 12 March, 2013 - 16:20

My mum never told be anything like this. If she could`t tell me the truth, she just said: "I`ll tell you later" and I stopped asking.

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Just Era's picture
Just Era 11 March, 2013 - 18:17

Most children do believe it,but personally I never did.I have never believed the tooth fairy or santa or other things like these.

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Jona's picture
Jona 23 February, 2013 - 22:43

Most children do believe it,but personally I never did.I have never believed the tooth fairy or santa or other things like these.

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Ilda G's picture
Ilda G 29 January, 2013 - 18:12

What can I do if I make a mistake in my comments?
How can I correct or remove it?
Please tell me!!

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JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 30 January, 2013 - 08:23

Hi ilda,
You can't correct your comments I'm afraid. This is because the LearnEnglish Teens Team read all the comments before they are published on the site. We check that they don't break our House Rules. If we let our users change their comments all the time they would have to be read again by our team. If you want us to remove your comments completely please use the Contact Us link at the botttom of every page on the site and send us an email.
The best thing to do is to take a minute to check your comment before you save it. If doesn't matter if there are small mistakes in your English. We are all here to improve our level. :)
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team.)

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Hanna's picture
Hanna 29 January, 2013 - 17:44

In my country(Ukraine) childrens don`t believe in tooth fairy. Here children put their teeth under the pillows. At night mouse takes them and brings new, strong teeth.
My parents said me that thander is when God is angry with people.

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Sizar Torres's picture
Sizar Torres 26 August, 2012 - 20:48

Actually when I was a child my family didn't use to tell me such stories, and that is why I don't like stories very much, it's a little bit strange but I think I have never asked my family who causes thunder when it was raining..I think it's strange!

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JenniferO's picture
JenniferO 7 August, 2012 - 22:23

Hi angel_loveya,
I love the story about the crows and the teeth -- I have never heard anything like that before! A crow is a bit different from a fairy...


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angel_loveya's picture
angel_loveya 6 August, 2012 - 11:34

It's kinda strange... I mean in my country, kids don't believe in tooth fairies:) When they lose one of their teeth, they take it and throw it on the roof. Then a crow takes it and brings back to the kid a stronger tooth:) If a kid asks his mom something about the storm like:" Who causes the storm?", the answer is often: "This is God's wish":) Sorry for the mistakes in expession, but I'm not very strong in English:)

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Miley's picture
Miley 5 April, 2013 - 14:07

In my country,people say the same thing. My mom used to told me this ....and yes i Love those mom also says that when you throw your teeth in the roof, the crow bring u stronger tooth and luck too

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