Last night I was enjoying an evening with some friends…
When somehow the conversation turned to magicians.
“Ooh, I don’t like that magician. He’s spooky. When he’s on the TV, I turn it off.”
“It’s all ‘smoke and mirrors.'”
All this talk about magic tricks took me back in time.
No, it wasn’t magic time-travel.
But I remembered an event in my childhood. And I told my friends about it.
Let me take you there…
In the 1960s, I loved watching the TV magicians, such as David Nixon.
So, one day, my parents bought me a magic set.
What an exciting event for a young child, as I proudly carried this large box out of the shop, showing everyone that we passed along the way.
Mum popped into another shop.
The shopkeeper had to see my new magic trick. It was too good to miss.
Digging out the first trick from the box and skimming through the first few lines of the instruction leaflet, I exclaimed:
“I can turn a threepenny bit into a sixpence”
“That’s wonderful,” said my audience.
The shopkeeper handed me a threepenny bit (now that’s dating it a bit, ‘cos that was ‘old money’ – remember the pre-decimalisation coins?).
I remember thinking “aren’t we suppose to give money to the shopkeeper?”
So confusing for a child.
She said “Here’s a threepenny bit. I can’t wait to watch you turn it into a sixpence”.
“Thank you,” I replied (see, my Mum and Dad had brought me up well).
“Let me read how to do it.”
As I carefully read the instructions like a grown-up boy, the ladies continued to chat.
It took a while. But eventually, I began to realise it wasn’t that “magic” after all.
Something wasn’t quite as I had imagined.
All eyes went my way.
“Err… It says here that I need a sixpence too.”
With a pretend puzzled look, the shopkeeper handed me a sixpence.
The trick went well, and the threepenny bit turned into a sixpence.
And I remembered to hand back both coins before we left.
At an early age, that disillusionment taught me an important lesson:
Things aren’t always what they appear to be.
I still enjoyed watching David Nixon on TV.
But I began to understand that his assistant wasn’t really sawn in half every week.
No matter how convincing it was, there would be an explanation.
Isn’t life like that?
Sometimes we feel things are beyond our control.
Stuff’s hitting the fan, and we feel we can’t do anything about it.
That’s when it’s time to take a reality check.
Step back, understand what’s going on, work through it.
And when it’s all over, you’ll have gained some valuable life lessons in the bargain.
What important life lesson have you learned from your childhood?
Share it in the comments box below, and let’s keep the conversation going.