Magic as Seen By a Child8:09 AM
Once upon a time, we were all children. We believed in the impossible, we believed in magic. This was the refreshing truth I witnessed when I attended the birthday of a 7-year old girl early this month. The sheer joy and wonder in her eyes shone in the belief that she was actually making a table float in mid-air while assisting the magician. It was how what every child should be - believing, trusting, and innocent.
Should Parents Encourage Magical Thinking?
The issue of whether or not parents should encourage children to believe in magic is highly debatable. A magical world is said to be the exact opposite of the real world. In the world of magic , there is only happiness, fulfilled dreams, and happy endings. Real world on the other hand, brings sadness, broken dreams, and death. So why should parents even consider allowing their children to enter the realm of magic if they will find out soon enough that life isn't exactly purely magical?
Psychologists believe that children need to work on developing their imagination for them to be able to grasp reality. Believing in fairy tales or acting out some fantasy adventure are not expected to damage children psychologically unless carried out to the extremes. Children are rather expected to be able to make the distinction between truth and fantasy at a certain age without raising a fuss, simply because they are growing up.
Why is It Easy for Children to Believe in Magic?
Children usually get their magical ideas from adults. When adults encourage such thinking, it is more often than not accompanied by evidence. Santa is believable because Christmas gifts from nowhere come on time. The tooth fairy must be real because the tooth the child placed under the pillow has been exchanged for money. The Disney princesses must be all alive and well as children get to see them in amusement centers.
Is this a bad thing to encourage? I most certainly hope not. I shudder at the thought of having to speak about serious realities to very young children.
When that 7-year old child believed that she was making a table float, the happiness on her face was unmistakable. I would like to think that she will subconsciously remember this moment of accomplishment even when she has reached the age of full understanding. She will remember that her parents and friends were cheering her on.
That said, she will remember the feeling, she will remember the encouragement, and most importantly, she will remember the magic she has seen. She may even discover the magic trick in time but I'm hoping her heart will remain a believer in the magic of life.