Monday, March 9, 2009

I Believe in Magic or Sometimes, Ignorance Really IS Bliss

They say that "Ignorance is bliss," and in at least one case, I am inclined to believe it. I thought that I wanted to know how magician's performed some of their tricks. Turns out, I was wrong.

We were channel surfing a few nights ago, and we stumbled across a program called, "Breaking the Magician's Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed." The premise of the show is that a masked magician breaks the long-held code of silence and reveals the secrets behind some famous magic tricks.

I had a sense of grim foreboding and unease about this idea. My 9-year old daughter was watching, and I didn't want future magic shows to be ruined for both of us. Like her, I have always loved magic and I wasn't sure that I wanted to know the secrets behind the tricks. I wanted to believe...just for the sake of magic.

As the secrets were revealed step-by-step and trick by trick, I found myself sinking lower and lower into a pit of despair. I had thought that I wanted to know, but it turned out that I really didn't want to know at all. I didn't want every trick dissected and explained in a logical fashion. I wanted the mysterious outcomes to remain magical.

I find that as I grow older, I don't want to know all of the answers. Sometimes the pleasure in everyday life is in the not knowing. I love the presents with admonishments on the tags that scream, "DO NOT OPEN BEFORE CHRISTMAS!" The real joy of receiving gifts is not the gift itself, but rather the magic is in the waiting, the wondering, and the anticipation. Before that present is opened, before the jig is up and the gift is exposed, my mind is free to imagine...What could be in that box??? After all of the gifts are unwrapped, and the festive paper is strewn about the living room floor, I experience a palatable sense of real loss and of melancholy. *sigh* The magic of Christmas is over for another year. It's so important to keep the magic alive in our lives, and in the lives of our children, or we become cynical and dull.

There are many ways to make your children's lives more magical. Our annual leprechaun visit on St. Patrick's Day is rapidly approaching. Lucky the Leprechaun causes all sorts of mischief at our house every year. His favorite thing is to color the toilet water a nice emerald green, and mess up my daughter's room. Oh wait, it's always a mess. (See my Ehow article on How to Stage a Leprechaun Visit here: http://www.ehow.com/how_4752532_classroom-home-st-patricks-day.html)

The TV program and the leprechaun's pending arrival did provide a great conversational opening to a question that I've been wondering how to raise with my daughter. I was curious as to whether she still believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and various other childhood icons. I was also concerned that she was getting to the age that other kids might start to tease her about her belief in these childish notions.

Me: "So, what do you think about Santa Claus?"
She: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Well, some people think he's not real. Do you believe that he's real?"
She: "Well, I have an idea, but I don't want to say it outloud."
Me: "Huh?"
She: "Well, I have a hard time believing that the Easter Bunny and Santa can get around to all of those children's yards and chimneys, so I think that it's probably parents that hide baskets and presents...but I still choose to believe."
Me: "What about fairies (aka Tooth) and leprechauns? Do you think they are real or magical?"
She: "Oh, well, of course, those are REAL!"

So, my girl is clued into the reality of these mythical childhood wonders. *Whew*However, she has made the conscious choice, in spite of the overwhelming evidence, that she will continue to believe. Also, although she saw many magical tricks debunked on that TV show, she will continue to believe in the possibility of magic. And me, I choose to believe that David Copperfield really CAN make a several ton elephant disappear from an empty parking lot, while real non-confederate onlookers watch in amazement. (The elephant was not really hidden in some fake scenery, waiting for the right moment to make his entrance. Nope.)

In conclusion, the lesson learned from my daughter (The Wise Illuminator) today is...Even if you "know," you can still choose to believe in magic. There are many magical things in our world today. Some of them cannot even be explained...and really, why would you even want to? Just let them be...magical.

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