What Would Dumbledore Do? or How to handle your child turning their hair blue!

Jun 10, 2009

Posted by: Doris | Comments

Bloggers - Doris

Have you ever read a book and realized that you walked away with more then a story? Have you ever sat contemplating a choice and wondered what your favorite literary character would do in that situation? If you have, then you’ll understand the purpose of The Harry Potter Alliance’s “What Would Dumbledore Do” campaign. (go write your blog now LOL )

As a teacher, I know that we strive to help students make text to real world connections, so when Andrew Slack first approached me with this idea several months ago, I was sold. First, it’s all about what reading teachers do everyday, but more importantly, we, as Harry Potter fans, now have the opportunity to make a great difference in this world.

To hear more about WWDD, you should go to the UStream chat on Wednesday at 8:30 Eastern. If you can’t attend, well it’s really pretty simple. What have you learned from Dumbledore that you can apply to your everyday life?

I’m about to be boring, so I’ll put on coffee for you in case you feel the need to snooze!

Dumbledore has taught me many things, but one of the most influential has been about allowing my students/kids to be themselves. Now, trust me, this is hard for me.

As a parent, and a teacher, both sides of me want the kids that I love to be succesful. At times it’s hard not to say SOMETHING that seems helpful.

*Passes coffee because I’m going to give you an example*

Setting: Early morning before school at my house …

Me: “Guys, breakfast is ready and AGGHH. Umm, (Insert middle child’s name here) your hair is blue”

Middle guy: “I know, it’s spirit day, so I’m going with blue hair”

Me: “Umm, well, ummmmm will you get in trouble?” (recites school rule about unnatural hair color in head over and over)

Middle Guy: “If I do then I do, but I wanted to show school colors from the tip of my head to the tip of my toes.”

Me: “Oh God, what did you do to your toes?”

Middle Guy: ” Do you want me to show you my feet?”

Me: (Recalls what 17-year-old boy feet smell like.) “No, just – well maybe you should wash your hair?”

Middle Guy: “Don’t I have the right to express myself?” (while he’s eating Count Chocola cereal) “We don’t live in ‘The Community’ I’m not going to be ‘released’ for having blue hair.” (Note the literary allusion to The Giver, and realize he’s using my own weapon for this battle)

Me: (praying I’m not doing something to totally screw up his well adjusted self-esteem) “Yes honey you do, have a great day, blue hair and all!”

Harry was allowed to be himself, to learn from his own mistakes. Never did Dumbledore tell Harry, “Hey dude, here’s what you got to do and here is how you should do it,” instead he let Harry learn on his own. He allowed Harry to become Harry, not some replica of what others thought a hero should be.

What did my middle guy learn? He learned to stand up for himself amongst adults who seemingly have his best interest. He learned to read the rules of “spirit day” well and make sure he could quote them to the Vice-Principal who wasn’t happy about his shokingly blue hair. He learned that I trusted his judgment, and he learned that blond hair holds blue dye for months and will turn to an ugly green later!

Dumbledore allowed students to learn naturally. His lessons were not preconceived notions of what was best for the young person, instead he allowed them to learn from life experiences.

What Would Dumbledore Do is a fantastic opportuity for all in the Harry Potter community to get together and tell the world about the lessons we’ve learned from Albus Dumbledore. It’s a great way to honor the memory of the fictional wizard that means so much to all of us.

You can read more of the blog entries from the What Would Dumbledore Do campaign here.

Check out my other WWDD blog entries here.

Finding Hogwarts

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.