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Weird things you used to believe as a kid

I was listening to This American Life's episode entitled "A Little Bit of Knowledge" (listen here) and in it, there were readers remembering weird things that they believed as kids that they never questioned. One woman thought that Unicorns existed, just like Dinosaurs and may just be extinct. Another thought that "Nielsen" families meant that everyone that was ever asked to decide what television shows were popular were named Nielsen. These are extreme but everyone has little bits of unexamined beliefs that they had as children. Children can have magical beliefs as their cognitive abilities develop. Piaget talked about the Intuitive Stage where children just know what they know, allowing for these leaps of logic to occur.


I thought about my own weird beliefs and what endured. I believed in the tooth fairy long after I thought that Santa Claus was a fraud. I was convinced that after fifth grade, there is no possible knowledge that needed to be acquired. I was convinced that because picking ladyslippers was not legal, the police were waiting to arrest anyone who transgressed. I thought if I said something blasphemous, I'd be struck down by lightning.

But none of that endured—except one thing as far as I know. When I was little, my mom told me off-handedly that if I cross my eyes, they will stay that way. It wasn't until I was almost 30, that I told one of my friends who laughed and said, "That's just one of those things your mom says to tell you to stop doing something." And I was aghast because I lived in fear all these years of crossing my eyes and ruining my sight forever and I had never even really thought about it that critically.


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