On the Merits of Throwing Away Baby Teeth

…and some other silliness.

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My 5 year old has her first loose tooth, more than a year earlier than her older brother was when he first lost a tooth. He currently has two loose top teeth and she has loose bottom teeth, so I’m anticipating some funny family photos later this summer!

After we all got excited together and everyone took a turn watching her wiggle her tooth, she said “Are we going to keep this until I’m an adult?”

Uh-oh.

It turned out she had quickly switched gears and was actually asking about the hat she was wearing, but that launched us into a lively family discussion regarding tooth fairies and truth.

When our oldest lost his first tooth, we took a couple of pictures, gave him a high five, and tossed it in the trash. And he was fine with it! Why do parents pay their kids money for something that belongs in the trash?

My children rightly discerned that parents do not want to hurt their kids’ feelings by making them throw away their tooth, so they offer a bribe to get rid of it without a fight. I know we are in the minority here, but we do not think it is necessary or wise to hide the truth from our children—even in fun. What do they learn if I pretend their tooth is important and then pay them for it?

It’s not just about the tooth fairy. I want them to know the difference between things that have eternal value and things that will pass away. They need to know that we can’t keep everything. My kids know that I don’t keep every picture they color for me. I explain that if we kept every picture that everyone colored for me, we would have to dig tunnels through our house to find each other. They all giggle and then we choose which things are the best or most important, and toss the rest. The same goes for broken toys. Over time, God’s truth has trickled into their hearts. It is a blessing to be able to sort through things we don’t need without a fight.

We teach our children Biblical truth in the small things. Each day when we clean up, they are reminded that their treasure is in heaven and that the things we have here are gifts from God. When I throw away a baby tooth, they learn that godliness is to be treasured over possessions. Every time I speak to my children is an opportunity to impart God’s wisdom to them—even in something as silly as losing a tooth!

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21)

“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we have brought nothing into the world and cannot take anything out of the world. (1 Tim. 6:6-7)

On a lighter note, the bigger kids giggled for several minutes while thinking up “fairies” that would be more useful than the tooth fairy. Here are some of their best ideas:

  • Holey Sock Fairy – finds all holey or mismatched socks and replaces them with new ones
  • Moldy Leftovers Fairy – removes all unidentifiable leftovers from the fridge and replaces the container with a clean one
  • Garage Sale Fairy – scours the house for unwanted items, lists them on ebay and leaves the money
  • Library Book fairy – no more lost or overdue books
  • Dandelion Fairy (my personal favorite) – leaves a quarter in exchange for each dandelion in the yard
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2 Responses to On the Merits of Throwing Away Baby Teeth

  1. Gigi says:

    hi there! I came across your lovely blog and happened to notice in this post your sons teeth have the same appearance as my 11 month old, as though the enamel has worn off along the biting edge? I hope you don’t mind me asking but did they erupt this way? I am curious as in my sons case they did and he has been diagnosed with an enamel defect I am still at a loss as to what may have caused this… was hoping you might be able to help me with some insight? Love and hugs! Gigi

    • Sara says:

      I wish I could remember! This child is almost 12 now and I have 5 more. We have always received good reports from the dentist and I don’t see this on his adult teeth. Sorry for the late reply. I don’t check in here as often as I used to! 🙂