As a child, I was always a bit sensitive and precocious, and, once believing in something, would be absolutely crushed upon finding out the falsities of my previously held beliefs.
One such vivid memory, was the year that I found out leprechauns were not real.
As a 6 year old, I was absolutely convinced that leprechauns were real, I was Irish after all, and hadn’t I come to school every previous St. Patrick’s Day to find my classroom a mess, caused by the pesky little leprechauns that my teachers seemingly disliked?
Every year, since I was about 3, I would put a little token out on St. Patrick’s Day for the leprechauns, and would receive something in return. This particular year I had put a placed a note out near my front door, giving the leprechauns my greetings of sorts, and woke up the next morning to find green carnations in a slender green vase sitting, waiting for me, on my front doorstep. I was ecstatic of course, and proudly went off to school to tell my classmates about my gift.
We found our classroom a mess as per usual; the desks turned upside-down, the pencils, pens, and markers all over the floor, my teacher complaining about how obnoxious leprechauns were. Already at the age of 6, students were talking about whether or not leprechauns were real, and I decided I would proudly state that they were in fact real, because after all, I had relieved my green carnations. My fellow classmates listened to my story, some arguing with me that the flowers could have been from anyone, not from the leprechauns. Offended, I put their opinions in the far back corners of my brain until the next St. Patrick’s Day, when my original childhood innocence started to wear off and I began to question certain things about the world around me.
With a heavy heart in the new couple years I was able to discern that the flowers were in fact from my parents, and I became bitter about everything that had previously given me such joy. What had been the point of getting so excited for St. Patrick’s Day and for the leprechauns if none of it was real? There really weren’t any magical leprechauns leaving green flowers to children, so had it all been for not?
Now, as I look back and laugh at stories such as these, I can conclude that I wouldn’t have it any other way; I believe that these childhood beliefs in the magical or seemingly impossible are important for our development. Why not let children have a few golden years where they can believe in such things like leprechauns? Soon, often too soon, we are exposed to the horrors and sadness that is found in the world, and once exposed, can never go back to our previous state of innocence. It is quite essential, I would argue, to laugh at stories such as my leprechaun experience where the world was only filled with the good. It is essential to believe in the impossible before the realities of adulthood begin to chip away at our imaginations.