I find it strange there are still many people – particularly those of the Christian faith – who refuse to allow their children to read Harry Potter. Knowing that we allow our kids to read the books, I was asked by a woman at a church, “aren’t the Harry Potter books full of recipes for spells? Doesn’t it teach kids how to make potions and put curses on people?”
My response was a hearty laugh, followed by a resounding, “no!”
The Harry Potter books are not manuals for witchcraft but rather, a long, heartfelt story of friendship, adventure, and overcoming adversity. It’s about growing up and seeing the dark in the world as well as the light and making the right decisions when everything seems against you.
Our ten year old is a massive Harry Potter fan. She started the books very early on and has seen most of the movies — and we love it. She spends hours to days curled up with a book! A book full of life lessons even adults can learn from.
- You Can’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover – or rather, a person by their looks.
- We meet Hagrid, a massive mess of a giant who is actually one of the most kind, caring, and gentle characters of the book.
- There’s Professor Snape who is dark, scary, and mean, but willing to do anything for his love. You don’t truly know him until he tells his story.
- The older woman who is pretty in pink and has perfect curls…well, you’ll want her dead more than the Dark Lord Voldemort.
2. Stand Up For Yourself.
- The world is full of people who will take advantage of you if you’re too nice, too small, too nerdy, too anything. There are bullies of every design and they will do what they can to tear you down.
- Evil/negativity comes in many forms and you need to be confident in yourself and to step up, whether it be to your friends, enemies of your friends, or even a critical family member.
3. Money Isn’t Everything
- We have Ron Weasley who is a part of a large family who doesn’t have a whole lot. He wears hand-me-downs and uses his brother’s old books. His life, though, was built on a foundation of a loving and happy family. He lives a good life with people around him who love him to death. Harry, on the flip side, is the richest boy his age, but not even rolling in money can get him what he’s always wanted – his parents.
- Fortunately, DNA doesn’t make family, and Harry learns that those who love him, care for him, and support him are his true family.
4. There is Always Hope
- No matter the circumstances, everything can get better! If you’re breathing, you have the strength. If your brain is alive, you have the wisdom. If your heart is beating, you have the spirit. The bad can always be put aside. Fears can be overcome. Life can restart.
5. A Good Heart is Everything
- Throughout the books, the characters often sacrifice something for a friend. A kind heart will earn you kindness from strangers or once-enemies, and true-to-heart love and loyalty.
- Choosing to bully or belittle someone only proves the lack of heart one has and it will earn nothing but enemies and disloyalty.
As parents, we want our children to learn valuable life lessons, and some of those lessons are better received from favorite, fictional characters than from the parents (kids are “smarter” than their parents these days, right?). Note the sarcasm. Stories can teach lessons to our kids. It is the parents’ job to give books the benefit of the doubt. If you find yourself concerned about a book’s content, then research it.