We are a family of bibliophiles. We love books. We collect books. We never seem to have enough books! Curling up together and reading aloud is one of our favorite activities. Give us quality books that teach life lessons while keeping us engaged and entertained and we're a fan for life. One of my personal favorites from my own childhood is Anne (with an e) of Green Gables. She and I are kindred spirits, you know. For our son, it has been Harry Potter. Not only have the Harry Potter books been fantastic at getting our reluctant reader to read, but they have opened up the genre of Fantasy and Adventure to him. Check out our post on 25 Books Your Child Should Read After Harry Potter to see his favorites and to get ideas for your own child. The Harry Potter series will likely go down in history as a quality children's book series that teaches life lessons. Here are 5 of those life lessons we learned from the Harry Potter books.
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1. "It's our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." Albus Dumbledore - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Choices, this is a concept that I strive to teach our children. We are all free to make our own choices, and those choices will define our characters. While reading the Harry Potter books the subject of "choices" came up regularly. I would ask our son what sort of character he'd want to be known for? Would he want to be known as sneaky, conniving, mean spirited, and deceitful? Or would he want to be known as honest, trustworthy, steadfast in friendship, and courageous? We always have a choice.
2. "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." - Sirius Black - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The concept of equality came up regularly in the Harry Potter books. The series is filled with the plight of House Elves, who are treated as slaves, and muggle borns (Witches or Wizards born to non magical parents) who are considered less than the pure bloods (Witches and Wizards who come from a long line of other Witches and Wizards). This is not unlike the real world where some people believe they are superior to others. It bothered our son to read how some of the characters treated others in the realm of Hogwarts. But it was a fantastic learning opportunity and opened up the conversation of how we are all equal. Thus everyone should be treated equally, and we should stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
3. "No good sittin' worryin' abou' it. What's comin' will come, an' we'll meet it when it does." Hagrid - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry was a worrier. He was constantly worried about what was going to happen. Our son is a worrier also. He gets it honest...I've been known to worry with the best of them too. Worry and stress like to steal our joy. There will always be things for us to worry about; parenting, schoolwork, finances, relationships. That's life, but you have a choice...ah, there are those choices again! My grandmother use to say that worrying was like sitting in a rocking chair...it gave you something to do, but it didn't get you anywhere. Like Hagrid, my grandmother knew that rocking in the "worry chair" did nothing but steal our joy. What is going to happen, is going to happen, whether you worry about it or not.
4. "It matter's not what someone is born, but what they grow to be." Albus Dumbledore - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
In the Harry Potter books some witches and wizards are born to privilege, while others are born to poverty. Some of these witches and wizards are pure bloods, while others are muggle born (born to non magical parents). Yet, throughout the books a persons choices...there it is again...come into play. It is reiterated that it doesn't matter where you come from, who your parents are, or what your financial situation...you can become what you choose...
5. "Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love." Albus Dumbledore - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Growing from tragedy and learning to move on is something Harry Potter must do repeatedly throughout the series. Ultimately, loss is something we all must learn to navigate. Death and loss are inevitable, but we get through it with love. Love is the greatest power or "magic" there is. If Harry hadn't had the love of his companions, and friends...who knows how his story would have ended. Our son really empathized with Harry as he recovered from individual losses. We learned that we too, have the power of love in our lives. It gets us through the tougher times and helps us to grow in unexpected ways.