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  • Writer's pictureSheila Willis

The Power of Suggestion

Has the power of suggestion ever been so strong that you saw something that wasn’t there? I have! Mind you I was about four years old, but 50+ years later, what I saw is still reasonably clear in my mind. 

It was my Dad who exercised the power of suggestion on my sister and I. To hone his skills, while attending preaching school, he went to different congregations in rural communities and preached a Sunday service. One of these fell on Easter Sunday. 

We had arrived in the town the day before. A church member owned the local general store. Above it were apartments, and he gave my family the use of one. The next morning, Easter Sunday, the family's morning routine was taking place when Dad went to the door and opened it. “There's the EASTER BUNNY!” he hollered. My sister and I scrambled to get a glimpse of the fabled character.

When we reached the door, we both ‘saw’ the bunny scurrying down the stairs and out of sight. I saw a bunny that was white with black spots, and Joyce saw a bunny that was black with white spots. Our argument about who was right was short lived as we spotted the eggs and other treasures he had left behind. 

Easter treats for the bunny to hide.
Easter treats for the bunny to hide.

It fascinated my Dad, and later myself, how we could both see something different, yet we hadn’t really seen anything at all. I am still pondering that question 50 years later, but it speaks to me of the power of suggestion and interpretation. 

I think ‘seeing’ the easter bunny has served me well. It makes me wonder what other things I have believed in, seen and witnessed simply because someone (or myself) made a believable statement based on the circumstances of the time.

It has also made me aware that the same set of circumstances can be viewed differently by different people - they see it through their lens - not mine. It was an early lesson in empathy. Both are valuable lessons. 

Today we are having the grandkids here to do a Easter Egg Hunt. I can guarantee someone will holler - There't the EASTER BUNNY! to kick things off. Every year one of the kids sees him running into the bush. I hope I am providing them with more than candy. I would like them to ponder the bunny as they get older and perhaps relate it to something more, as my dad did for me.

Have a terrific Easter weekend, no matter how you celebrate it! ~ Sheila

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