My oldest child was the perfect age when JK Rowling was publishing her Harry Potter books. Together, we began learning about Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with me reading the stories to her at bedtime. And as Harry grew up, so did my daughter. By the time the final books were coming out, she was finishing High School, and I’d have to wait until she had devoured the latest novel on her own before I could have my turn.
The characters each have their individual challenges but always have the need for one another, which is a great life lesson—not just a coming of age lesson. Naturally, some of my favorite themes from the series are appropriate in Coaching.
In the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry and his best friends are new students at Hogwarts, and are on a quest to find the Stone. They are continually thwarted by unexpected enchantments, and they are just learning how to use their magical skills. After quelling “Fluffy” (a three-headed snarling dog!) they are enmeshed in Devil’s Snare:
This plant uses its creepers and tendrils to ensnare anyone who touches it, binding their arms and legs and eventually choking them. The harder a person struggles against Devil’s Snare, the faster and more tightly it binds them; if they relax, it will not tighten as quickly.
This encounter with Devil’s Snare illustrates the character distinctions of Harry’s two best friends which plays out through the entire series: Hermione is a studious perfectionist and Ron is ill-prepared and emotional. Because of her research, Hermione recognizes the species and tells her friends to relax to get out of the clutches of the plant. At first Ron fights, causing more distress. Finally, despite his fear, he follows her advice and is freed.
- What are the circumstances you face in which struggling is increasing your distress?
- Have you relaxed in the face of fear? What occurred?
- Do you have associates who have knowledge to share with you? Are you listening to them?
As the venerable Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, told Harry: “It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”