Monday, October 20, 2008

"Yikes, magic!"


I need a break from all things SPD and this topic has been on my mind since Thursday when I received an odd email. First of all, let me please give this disclaimer: I am not poking fun at anyone's religion. I staunchly believe people should be allowed to worship as they see fit.

OK, so onto the email. I belong to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) which gets together twice a month to socialize and ostensibly to offer support to mothers of small children. It is supposed to be a non-denominational group that promotes Christian values. Well, the group had planned a "Fall Ball" for Saturday for the whole family to attend. They had food planned and hay rides, etc. and it promised to be fun for all.

On Thursday I got an email elaborating on the magician that was supposed to be coming to the Fall Ball. In the email, D said when she heard there was going to be a magician, she thought, "Yikes, magic!" and assumed many others felt the same way. She then put everyone's fears to rest by assuring us that the magician was a Christian and that he would start his act by informing the kids that there is no such thing as magic. He would talk about God's miracles and then end the show with a discussion of the Plan of Salvation, which I assume means he would talk about Jesus coming to save the world. She concluded by saying that they wouldn't be exposing the kids to any voodoo.

I was baffled by so many aspects of this email. And please, anyone reading this who can shed some light on my questions, let me know. First off, are there really people out there who think "Yikes!" when the hear the word "magic"? What could possibly be so scary about a magician performing for kids? I believe in God quite fervently. I pray, go to Church, etc. but I have no problem with my children believing in magic. To me, it is the same as kids believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. What is so dangerous about a couple of card tricks and pulling a bunny out of a hat? I don't see at all how this could undermine a child's belief in God or Jesus. What am I missing here?

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure how I felt about some stranger (whether Christian or not) informing my child that magic doesn't exist. Isn't magic what childhood is all about? I love to see the looks of wonder on my kids' faces when they see something unexplainable. Why would I want someone to come along and squash that in my kid at the age of 5? It won't be long before he starts to feel disillusioned about so many things, why force it sooner?

Another problem I had was that the author of the email (and presumably other leaders of my MOPS group) equate magic with voodoo. Why would anyone assume that magic and voodoo are the same thing? I just don't understand.
Maybe there really is dark magic out there and voodoo, maybe I am just naive because I have never encountered it myself. But, I guess I am more worried about real evils that I hear about on the news: child pornography, child molestation, rapes, etc. This magic thing seems like a distraction from the real evils out there. I am more worried that the magician performing at a party is a pedophile than I am about my kids believing in magic.

Like I said before, I don't mean to belittle anyone's beliefs. I have just never encountered anyone who was so freaked out about magic before. Since moving to this smallish town 5 years ago, there are just so many religious issues that I have come into contact with that baffle me. Another one is the crazy controversy over Harry Potter. But, I suppose that is fodder for another long rant/post.

9 comments:

kia (good enough mama) said...

More proof that some people can manage to get their knickers in a knot about absolutely anything. Some apparently have waaayyy too much time! That's my $0.02.

carrie said...

patty,
i do completely understand and feel the same way as you. magic is about imagination, not evil voodoo. or at least not that i am aware of. it is a fascination for children to wonder how it is done. and i agree that i would not want another to come along a ruin a happy thought in my child's mind. knowing the author of that email, i think her heart is in the right place, but at the same time it isn't her place to decide that people believe magic is evil.
and by the way, we love harry potter in this house.

Betsy said...

What the crap! Is there something in the stream that runs thru Effingham that turns people into crazies.Sorry. It reminds me of the movie Something Wicked Comes This Way....hahaha Did you go to the event? I probley would have skipped the magic show..or just put ear muffs on the kids.Have a great and SANE day. Betsy

Amy Jane said...

Patty,

Seriously? Geez. I agree with you completely. I can't believe this! People really need to get real things to be concerned about, don't they? I'm dying to know who D is - anyone I know? :)

Amy

hellokittiemama said...

Patty,

The part where you talk about magic and santa claus and pulling bunnies out of a hat... Yes. I couldn't agree more with that.
Not sure I'd take my kids to that particular 'magic' act. Well, actually I'm pretty darn sure that I wouldn't.

William said...

Patty,

I have to back you up on this Harry Potter business. What gets me is that certain conservative factions have zero tolerance for a boy who casts spells and fights evil, yet the same people have no reservations about enjoying "Star Wars" with their children. Hmmm, instead of magic spells they use "the Force" to move things, tell the future, control minds. Jedis use light sabers instead of magic wands; all of this done in the name of fighting evil, namely the dark side. How is it they can handle the idea of Jedis but not magicians who use their magic to fight for good? Any well-developed, advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic or the unexplained.

Frankly, I agree that children need more protection from unrestricted myspace, chat room, facebook, and cell phone use so they are cautious when dealing with people they have never met who could be sexual predators. Why should the idea of 'magic' strike fear into good people's hearts when there are REAL things out there that destroy people's lives everyday? The horrors of piecing your life back together after having your identity stolen, or recovering from a serious addiction to pornography, or drugs and alcohol?

I should also mention that Harry Potter is a well-written, incredible series of books; it has excellent fantasy themes, wordplay, characters, and plot development. Don't care much for the movies, but they're enjoyable visually.

beckbot said...

Ok, I read this post right after watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I hadn't seen it before, although my kids had (I know, that breaks a cardinal rule of parenting). It was in the DVD player so I watched it while doing 12 million posterboard cutouts for Super's kindergarten. Anyway. The first part of the movie was enjoyable, I always like how Hogwarts is depicted, etc. Then came this scene in a graveyard where Voldemort is some kind of infant (due to his power having been seriously diminished earlier) and one of his minions drops him into a cauldron, throws in some other stuff, and casts a spell. Voldemort then emerges from the cauldron, looking very much like a fetus, and then sort of morphs into his normal pasty turtle-nosed self. At first I was howling with laughter at Baby Voldemort being carried around by this porcine servant in a little blanket, no less. But when he morphed and then called down his evil wizard friends to join him, I really did start to feel uncomfortable. Not so much with the idea of a real Voldemort but more of what William touched on above, namely the sorts of people/forces that truly do have evil intentions and very much want to hurt other people. I was thinking along the lines of sociopaths, pedophiles, etc., and I got so freaked out that I skipped to the credits to see if it was Ralph Fiennes who played Voldemort. It was.
Sorry about the freakishly long post, just wanted to weigh in.

mrsbear said...

I have to say I would have probably been a little irked by that email as well. It's a magician, I wouldn't expect him to walk in there and start lopping the heads of chickens. I think it's a little hypersensitive and alarmist. Maybe they should have opted for a clown...wait those are actually pretty scary.

Shellie said...

I'm in your same boat. I am a very devout Christian but it baffles me that being a Christian could in any way mean you are spooked over a little magic show, or Harry Potter. I try really hard to respect their beliefs and views but I do find them really difficult to understand. And heaven forbid I should mention evolution...