“Guess what? It’s snowing outside!”
When I was young, that’s the greeting my sisters and I woke up to every year on April 1st. Mom would come into our bedrooms with the exciting news, but before we could jump out of bed and race to the window to see for ourselves, she’d add, “April Fool!” By then we were awake enough to realize for ourselves that we were now in the month of April. And it never snowed in April.
April 1st came and went this year without my being the victim or perpetrator of any April Fool’s Day jokes. It was halfway through the day, in fact, before I even realized it was April Fool’s Day. When I did, I immediately thought – as I always do – of my mom, and I smile at the memory. Also at the memory of how wrong I was in thinking that it never snowed in April. I remember a whale of a blizzard we had one year that closed school for several days – in April. And I’ve seen flurries in April many years since then, including this one.
It’s not the weather I’m thinking about now, however, but rather those beliefs we have that are based on our own experiences and awareness, and on our limited knowledge and viewpoint. I’m a little embarrassed even to acknowledge some of the things I believed when I was growing up, about much more worldly matters than the weather on the first day of April.
It’s not that I was particularly naïve or sheltered. It’s just that my beliefs were based on the world I knew, and the life I was familiar with. Like families, for instance, which consisted of mom, dad, and kids. Plus grandmas, grandpas, and lots of uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Or faith traditions. I knew people celebrated Christmas in different ways, but as a child it didn’t occur to me that there were people who didn’t celebrate Christmas at all. And I thought that all Catholics got their Easter baskets blessed on Holy Saturday as we did – not realizing till I was much older that this was more of a Polish tradition than a Catholic one.
Over the years, as my world expanded and my awareness deepened, I met people of many different religious beliefs and traditions. I got to know families that didn’t consist of mom, dad, kids, and large extended families. I saw snowstorms in April. And May.
Many of my childhood beliefs were shattered long ago because of new experiences and information I’ve acquired since then. But some beliefs have stayed with me, and some have even been strengthened along the way. New beliefs continue to come to me as I learn more about the world, about other people, and about myself.
It’s good to examine our beliefs every so often. To actually stop and think about what we believe, and why. About where our beliefs came from, and whether or not they are still accurate.
If you have the time, take a few minutes to do this right now. And while you’re at it, stop and glance out the window every so often to see if it’s started snowing.
This is April, after all.
The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on April 7, 2016.
©Betty Liedtke, 2016
What are some beliefs you grew up with that are no longer true or valid? I’d love to hear about them! Please be aware, however, that all comments will be moderated and approved before appearing on this blog, in order to protect all of us from unwanted spam.