How Harry Potter is helping us through Puberty.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was just finished in our home. Paul and Stella and I are reading slowly through the series. It is such a joy to share this world with Stella. Her imagination is deep and wide and embraces without question Rowling's world and people, words and happenings.
The book's last few chapters hold a lot of action and emotion. After a particularly intense chapter ended and Stella was emotionally fragile Paul decided to give the gift of extra reading time thinking it would improve Stella's emotional state. It made it worse. So extra, extra reading time was given with a decision that either proves our coolness as parents or our deep lack of parenting skills. We decided that we could read another chapter and Stella could sleep in and miss the first 45 minutes of school the next morning.
It made us all giddy.
To break the rules. To stay up late and stay in a story.
We smiled and gigged, cuddled back up under the blankets and kept reading.
The next morning was fine. Stella didn't miss much and the world kept spinning.
The world is spinning. Days move by as I spend my hours. My children grow up. I grow older.
Stella is growing. Her world spins and flies. I wonder how it feels to her...how time looks from behind her eyes.
She will be 10 this summer. Double digits and Pre-teen. Her awareness and communication astounds me. She is not excited to be an almost-teenager. When she speaks of this it is with fear and anxiety. A knowledge that she is growing and changing without her consent. She expresses a desire to never go to college, to stay with me forever, to never be as old as I am (which stings the slightest bit) and to be a kind teen.
I have noticed this is a theme, this worry that being a teenager equates with being rude and mean to all. Stella has promised many a time to Dayli and myself that she will not be a mean teenager. I wonder where she has picked this up. Is it how the older kids at school or church behave? Did I miss something in her life where she was looked down upon? Did I forget that she saw or heard something that created and fed this fear? Did I breed it?
And so the world spins and we find ourselves on a Monday morning much like this one. I take the girls to school on Mondays. I volunteer in Stella's classroom checking in homework, grading spelling tests, recording reading hours, etc. During the drive all this "Mean Teen" talk came back up and Stella was once again making promises to Dayli and I decided that this would be a great time to talk about hormones and puberty. Stella and I have already had many intense talks about sex, bodies and babies and so I wasn't worried about bringing up too much I just wanted to make a point about how many changes are happening in the adolescent body and so when one considers hormones and brain development one can be a bit more gracious towards Teens even when they are Mean. So after I finish my mini-lecture on the effects of hormones on behavior Stella quips, "So, puberty is basically like fighting the Imperious Curse!?"
I burst into laughter and couldn't stop. Because she was right. And clever. And because I love her.
If you haven't read the books there are 3 Unforgivable Curses. The Imperious Curse is one and is used to control someone. If a person is under The Imperious Curse then they are basically a puppet with no free will or ability to make their own decisions.
Puberty = The Imperious Curse.
There is much truth to this equation. And I also think there is a deeper truth. An axiom that Paul created that causes eyes to roll in our girls is, "attitude is everything." We talk often about the powerfully difficult choice it is to change ones attitude in the midst of pain or anger but that choice has profound effects on ourselves and the people around us. And we believe that there is magic that helps us fight curses and puberty. A deep magic that is older than the wizarding world and older than adolesence.
And so the world spins as does our attitude and choices. We search all of us for magic to help us through the spinning days.
Elie Wiesel writes that the Israel Baal Shem Tov (“Master of the Good Name,” a Hasidic Master) said, " 'As it is possible for man to hide the light of dawn emanating from the forest simply by shielding his eyes with his hands, still it is no less true that he can rediscover it by merely moving his hands.' Thanks to him, thanks to this simple motion of a hand, [one can discover] the world in all its awesome majesty and beauty."
Just read that old magic a few times. Written by two men who in anguish and joy sought magic by seeking God.
Isn't it lovely where you can find wisdom?
As your world spins today and you perhaps feel cursed or like you have lost your ability to make your own decisions then I hope you can remember that if with a wave of your hand you can hide light that you do have the power to change your inner Mean Teen and discover some majesty and beauty. I hope I can remember too.