Today I thought it would be entertaining to talk about the assumptions we made as kids. My story has strong religious tones because Christianity was such an integral part of my first two decades of life. Feel free to share stories on any topic, though!
Growing up I was taught that doves were a symbol of the holy spirit. For years I wasn’t exactly sure what a dove looked like in real life. All of the pictures I’d seen of them were fairly stylized and we never lived in areas with high pigeon or dove populations.
Somehow the idea that the holy spirit was symbolized by a dove morphed into a private conviction that the holy spirit occasionally appeared in the form of a dove to see what us humans were doing. Using kid-logic I inferred that the holy spirit probably reported back what she had seen to God and that one should therefore be on his or her best behaviour whenever one of these creatures turned up.
One day I noticed an elegant little bird sitting by the side of a road.
“What type of bird is that?” I asked.
“A dove,” one of my parents said. I was in awe. God was watching us! For the rest of the day I tried to be on my best behaviour in the hope that a good report would soar back to heaven.
I kept this belief tucked away in the back of my mind for an embarrassing number of years. It wasn’t orthodox theology but it made far more sense to me than some of the official teachings.
What misconceptions about the world did you have as a child? What was your reaction when you learned the truth?