It was late one Saturday night. I was putting my little guy to bed after letting him stay up for a movie. He asked me how they’d done certain things in the movie and I explained to him that some things aren’t always as they seem. Tricks can be done to make your brain think it’s seeing something when it’s not real.
I proceeded to show him the trick where you bend your thumbs in half and pretend to pull one apart using both. His face turned to horror, thinking I’d actually just pulled off the tip of my thumb. He threw his bed spread over his head and screamed, “No! Don’t show me that!”
After I calmed him down, I showed him it was a trick. I revealed how I did it, and after he made me swear I would never do that again, we said goodnight.
Since then, he’s wanted to learn more tricks. I’ve started with a few card tricks that he doesn’t quite have down yet, and we showed him how to make a perfectly solid pencil look like rubber by shaking it a certain way. I’ve showed him a coin trick or two, and he genuinely loves it. I didn’t even realize it when I began to show him these things, but it clicked a couple weeks ago when I watched him study what I was doing during a card trick: He wasn’t buying it, and his mind was busy trying to figure out how I was tricking him. I was accidentally teaching him skepticism.
So, for Christmas we bought him a briefcase magic set, which he actually asked for. You can get them just about anywhere. Bookstores, online, with those Scholastic book orders your kids bring home.
This is the one we found for him: The Greatest Magic Show On Earth
I can hardly wait to teach him some tricks. I think it’s become such a fantastic way to teach him not to believe everything he sees or hears. I also think it’s an excellent way to protect him from becoming a sucker for psychics and palm readers and all that bullsit.
What are you getting your kids for Christmas?