Dec. 4, 2013
Dec. 2, 2013
Rabbi Moshe Grylak: Attack on Chanukah's scholar-warriors an affront to all people of faith
U.S. boxes in Israel, not Iran: Surrender in Geneva
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Vanessa Bayer & Jacob, the Bar Mitzvah Boy; Adam Levine, nickname "the Bear Jew," is People's Sexiest; Eastwoods Need to Say "Kinehora!"
The Kosher Gourmet by Kim Ode:
Fried and gone to heaven: Dense, fried Slovenian doughnut-like rolls, krofi, on Chanukah is a treat you'll want to eat all year long
: Tracking babies' eyes, scientists find signs of autism in 2-month-olds
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Hunger Games: Jewish Connections; A 'Minyan'of Jewish Celebs Recite the Gettysburg Address On-line; Walter Matthau's Reaction to JFK's Death
Nancy A. Youssef :
Christians too afraid to complain as treatment in new 'democracy' worsens
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Jewish MLB managers; Past and Present; Movie News and Dancing W/the Stars Shocker; Paula Abdul's Israeli bat mitzvah and bio facts rarely reported
Jewish World Review
Nov 30, 2011
/ 4 Kislev, 5772
Do You Believe In Magic?
Parents throwing birthday parties for young children have always enjoyed a range of entertainment options. Clowns are, of course, a traditional favorite, and guaranteed to give children of all ages an unforgettable experience, even if it's only by making frequent appearances in their subsequent nightmares.
A more contemporary idea is to rent a karaoke machine. This is the perfect solution for parents who, in planning their child's party, find themselves thinking, "You know what's missing from our lives - the opportunity to hear more children screaming out songs by Miley Cyrus."
But perhaps the most popular children's party entertainment option is the magician. This is also the most baffling. Because, and please correct me if I'm wrong, to a child the whole world is pretty much one nonstop magic show. You flick a switch and the lights come on. Magic! You get strapped into a carseat and suddenly you're stuck. Magic! You leave your Halloween candy on the kitchen table and in the morning all the Milky Ways are gone, with only wrappers left behind in the garbage can and Daddy's fingerprints smeared in chocolate on the countertop. Magic!
The other problem with exposing children to magic is that they may start believing that it's real - and that they can perform magic tricks themselves. At a recent party my five-year-old son watched a magician produce a rabbit from an apparently empty box. When my nine-year-old daughter said she would love to get a pet bunny but mean old Dad would never allow it, her brother wasn't concerned. "I'll just use magic to get us a bunny," he said, dismissively. Later, he seemed genuinely disappointed when his homemade magic wand not only failed to produce a bunny, but also proved ineffective in turning me into a frog.
But magic represents just one of many ways we intentionally mislead our children about the world around them. Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are two obvious examples. But there are plenty of others, many of which draw me into conversations like this:
Son: Daddy, is there really such a thing as pirates?
Me: Well, yes, but not like the pirates you know. They don't have hooks for hands or walk around with parrots on--
Son: But do they sail in ships and steal treasure?
Me: Sure, in a manner of speaking, but it's still not the same as--
Son: But do they wear ragged clothes and terrorize the high seas?
Me: Yeah, they do, but... hey, isn't Spongebob on?
Thankfully, disappointment at learning that magic isn't "real" quickly passes as soon as the child realizes, "Wait a minute! I can learn to do magic tricks and fool grownups the same way they fooled me!" Parents will know a child has entered the "magic" phase from telltale signs such as discovering an entire pitchers' worth of milk spilled on the carpet or that the cat can no longer be coaxed out from under the sofa.
For other kids, however, it's not just a phase. Instead, an early exposure to magic launches these children - mostly boys - on to a lifelong love of the conjurer's arts. Not only does magic promote creativity and hand-eye coordination, but it also keeps nerdy boys occupied during the teen years when the other boys are busy dating.In truth, most adults enjoy magic, even as we grow older and, presumably, wiser. Still, magic is only interesting if you retain a shred of the belief that maybe, just maybe, it's real. "Why, if this guy in a cape can make his assistant disappear," we think, "then perhaps there's hope for my plan to get rid of my boss…"
That's why magicians are wise not to reveal the secrets behind their tricks. Not only because it preserves an air of mystery, but also because when you find out how a trick is really done, it's always a little disappointing. "Oh, there's a hidden panel. That makes sense. Ah well, I guess I'll have to put up with my boss after all."
In truth, the childhood "loss of innocence" is, essentially, the process of discovering how much of the world isn't really magical - that presents aren't brought on Christmas Eve by a jolly old elf from the North Pole, that there's no mystical creature who pays cash for discarded baby teeth, and that maybe Rex wasn't sent to a farm upstate to play with other dogs when he got old.
But just because children will inevitably lose much of their sense of childhood wonder, they don't have to lose it all. The world is still a pretty magical place, even if pirates today wield Uzis instead of cutlasses and don't say, "Shiver Me Timbers." So the next time my five-year-old son tries to perform some magic and then asks me, "Daddy, is that real?" I'll know just what to say:
JWR contributor Malcolm Fleschner is a humor columnist for The DC Examiner. Let him know what you think by clicking here.
10/20/11 The Internet: Doing The Heavy Uplifting
08/31/11: Unhealthy Behavior? I Won't Stand For It!
12/01/10: It's Getting Better All The Time
08/24/10: Turn Down The Stereo(types)
06/24/10: The No Roamin' Holiday
06/08/10: Parenting On A Cellular Level
05/27/10: Older? Yes. Wiser? Not Necessarily
04/19/10: The Bossman Cometh
03/25/10: The Rules of Interaction
01/09/10: A ride of passage
12/26/09: The Family Power Struggle Goes On…
10/26/09: Rapidly approaching fuddyduddy-hood
06/20/09: Waging a backyard turf war
02/20/09: The Sties Have It
04/30/09: Planning of the Apes
04/08/09: No more phoning it in
02/26/09: Tuning in to the English Channel
02/19/09: 25 AND COUNTING
02/13/09: A new life, dead ahead
01/29/09: NOW STARRING ... EVERYBODY!
01/15/09: You know the type
01/08/09: Just in time, here comes 2009
11/20/08: Hotels go for the green
11/06/08: Something does not compute
10/30/08: Early adopters tech their chances
10/21/08: Cyberspace invaders
10/21/08: Keeping up disappearances
09/17/08: Victims of math hysteria
08/07/08: My newfound sense of self (promotion)
06/24/08: Getting the brand back together
05/29/08: Phrased and confused
05/13/08: Take this job and love it
04/17/08: News you can (re)use
04/02/08: Commercial (over)load
02/20/08: An overdose of reality
02/14/08: A developing situation
01/30/08: I can tech it or leave it
01/02/08: Confessions of a coke addict
01/02/08: Our bills are due
12/13/07: Going (to lunch) once, going twice…
11/28/07: Out with the old
11/06/07: My latest pet project
11/06/07: Can't tune it out
10/23/07: Something special in the hair
09/12/07: Can I have your attention, please?
09/12/07: Houston, we have an image problem
08/21/07: In the heat of fashion
08/09/07: Let's get in the game
06/13/07: You gonna eat that?
05/08/07: That's disinter-tainment
05/02/07:You Are (not) Getting Sleepy...
04/18/07: No time like Father Time
03/15/07: Deface the Nation
03/08/07: More gifts? You shouldn't have
02/22/07: Relationships can be such a chore
12/05/06: Who's calling the shots?
11/09/06: I'm taking selling to a whole new level
10/27/06: Some skills are beyond repair
10/18/06: You can't tech it with you
10/04/06: Award to the wise
08/24/06: Phrased and Confused
08/09/06: We're Gonna Party Like it's $19.99
07/19/06: Just Singing in the Brain
05/24/06: Who says you can't go home again?
05/11/06: When nightly news stories go off script
04/26/06: Cents and sensibility: A thought for your pennies
03/16/06: The day the Muzak died
02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home
02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning
© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
David Ray Skinner
Ask Doctor K