Toddlers must think parents are magicians. We make fire at the flick of a finger, make food appear out of thin air, and even read minds (e.g., you’re sleepy). It’s no wonder kids have a wildly inaccurate perception of their parents as they grow up.
They don’t see their mom working to make dinner, or the time that goes into list making and grocery shopping and recipe learning. They just see her wave a spoon like a magic wand and find food on their plate. They don’t see the years of experience and work that go into gathering the knowledge of which ointment or home remedy to apply to a cut or scrape to instantly make it all better. Nope, she just says, “all better” and so it is.
They don’t see their dad work to cut tree limbs or chop wood, they just see him conjure fire from his fingertips on suddenly appearing logs. Lightning, thunder, garbage trucks, big dogs, and other giants of the toddler world are all engaged without fear (or at least not fled from in terror) by their parents. How do they do it, the kids wonder.
And this doesn’t even touch on the technology aided magic. We can make Mickey Mouse appear on a screen with the touch of a button or even just our voice. We can conjure grandpa and grandma’s or their cousins’ presence on a phone or computer with no apparent effort.
If kids in the past had all the normal reasons to be in awe and look up to their parents, today’s kids have no reason to doubt the wizardry of theirs. We fly, can command food and household items to appear on the doorstep, and can see in the dark. Shoot, we can see everywhere.
I mean, it’s getting to the point where superheroes are going to be pretty boring. Kids are going to go back to wanting to be like their parents when they grow up instead of an Avenger, Superman, or whatever a “PJ Masks” is.
This is obviously a bit over the top, but I do wonder about the way toddlers and kids are experiencing childhood in this 21st Century. Much of daily life is convenient, easy, and effortless (although perhaps lately less so) and a side effect could be that they think we’re wizards. But the side effect could also be a learned laziness and spoiled attitude.
I guess for now I should just appreciate the fact they think I’m a wizard. And not tip my hand to all the tricks.
Harris and his wife live in Pflugerville with their five sons. Please email comments or suggestions for future columns to email@example.com.