The Fairies At The Bottom Of The Garden…

…, made me the critical thinker I am today.

So what is a critical thinker? Well you might know them as skeptics, but the name skeptic has been bastardised in so many ways these days, it takes less explanation to say I’m a critical thinker. But how did the fairies at the bottom of the garden make me this way, well that’s the topic of this post.

Like most young children, I dreamed of things, I wished for things, I rubbed the kettle hoping a genie would pop out, I did all those things. Sometimes my wish would come true, other times, nothing. Instead of getting frustrated or angry when it didn’t work out, I wondered why. My belief in make believe made me think. What was the cause? Why did this happen? How did this outcome come about? Let’s have a look at an example.

One of the things I wished for was to be the best hockey player ever. Now we can all tell that didn’t happen, but I can look at the situation and work out why it didn’t happen. I needed to be bigger, stronger, faster, (some would say better looking, I tend to agree, but let’s not go there), I needed experience and talent. Now I could have achieved all those things maybe, but I wanted it now. For it to have happened in an instant, there would have been a need for things to change at a molecular level. Changes to my DNA. Changes that were not humanly possible then, nor now. But it got me thinking, is there a way to make these changes happen?

My imagination lead me to understand differences between fact and fiction. It made me think about what was possible, what was plausible, and what just didn’t add up as even being logical. If I hadn’t jumped off the top of the slide dressed as Superman when I was three, I wouldn’t have known that putting on a red plastic cape out of a Show-bag doesn’t give you the ability to fly. Maybe I should have worn the yellow belt too. Of course as an adult, it is easy to look back and see just how silly this idea was, but for my small, now bruised and bloodied, brain, it was a journey of discovery.

These days I don’t consider myself a good critical thinker. I don’t understand all the rational behind debunking all the woo woo that is out there, but I can use my understanding that as a baseline, nothing is happening to then build from there to not be mislead. I don’t have all the answers, and it’s impossible for anyone to have all the answers for every possibility out there, but I know I’m not easily mislead.

If it wasn’t for those fairies at the bottom of the garden, I might be one of these people who believes things as an adult, because someone tells me it. But instead, I’m someone who is rational in my thinking and not easily amazed by rats with gold teeth selling snake oil.

So I say thank you to the fairies at the bottom of the garden, for making me who I am today, instead of just granting my wishes. Besides, I now know that even if you had given me that invisibility cloak I wanted, the shopping I planned to do with it was actually shoplifting. Thanks for getting me out of that one.

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