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Never Give Up

I have four kids who teach me something new every day. Without prompting, I asked each of my kids what I should talk about in my blog this month. Hudson didn’t flinch before saying, “Harry Potter”. Hudson's nine and my second oldest kid. He is my rainbow baby who also had sort of a scary birth because of shoulder dystocia. I mention that because not a day goes by that I don’t think of how blessed we are that Hudson is a healthy, thriving boy. One of Hudson’s best attributes is that he won’t give up until a job is finished.

Funny example. Once, we were washing cars at church for an outreach. Hudson was on "tire scrubbing" duty. He was little at the time, so he was the perfect person for the task -except for one thing. He didn’t want to stop scrubbing until all the black stuff was gone. No matter how many times we told him that the line cars was getting really long (or that some hubcaps can’t be scrubbed clean) he didn’t want to stop until the job was done. This was one of the only times where his sticktoitiveness was a problem. Usually, it’s just the thing that makes him great at almost everything he tries to do. If he’s not great at first, he’ll stick to it until the job is done.

It takes a bit of sticktoitiveness to read all seven books of the Harry Potter series, but Hudson did it pretty early. In fact, he’d listened to all the audiobooks by the time he was in kindergarten. He also asked to have a Harry Potter themed birthday party that year. We did it up big. We made a sorting hat out of a brown paper bag, sorted the kids into houses, and then they did potions class, defeated a dementor, and even did flying lessons. The kids had fun, but they had absolutely no idea what was going on because they were five and six and didn’t know anything about Harry Potter. But Hudson did. And I wonder if it’s Harry’s drive to defeat Voldemort at all costs that so attracts Hudson to this story.

When we were in college, Ryan and I had a friend named Melanie that was a little older than us who acted as a mentor. She was a real grown-up who would invite us to dinner at her house or take us to the store. You know, all the things you need most when you’re in college. During one visit, she said, “There’s this new book out that my students are going crazy over. I think it’s going to be huge.” She went on to explain that the book was about child wizard who attends a school called Hogwarts. I was like, “Cool!” But inside I was like, “Gross. Not reading that one.” And I kept that promise to myself. Until I was a teacher too. By that time, the fourth book was out and I wanted to be able to connect with my students who were all about Harry Potter. I had a long layover and found myself in an airport bookstore and that was the beginning of my love for the series.

At first, I got a little backlash for being a Christian and a Harry Potter fan. There are plenty of good points on both sides of that debate, but all in all I found that Harry’s is story of sacrifice and love even if it’s told with magic.

Melanie was right, of course, about Harry Potter being huge. In fact, many educators credit the series for a reading revival that’s still going strong today. Check out this article about what Harry Potter did for literacy.

In my life, it’s been the series I go to when I’m stressed. When I was directing plays and musicals, I always chose one of the books to listen to in my car while working on a production. It was the relief I needed at the end of tiring day. I’d jump in my car and turn on the story and the pressures was was facing faded away as my favorite characters came to life with Jim Dale doing all the voices.

Hudson’s such a fan of Harry Potter that he asked to do another Potter Birthday party last year. This time, the theme was "Saturday morning at Hogwarts". Again we sorted the kids. We had a big breakfast complete with pumpkin juice and butter beer, then the kids headed outside for a quiddich tournament. In case a house didn’t shine on the quiddich pitch, they had a chance to redeem themselves and earn house points in a game of Harry Potter trivia. The kids had a blast and more of them were familiar with the series this time. In fact, Hudson was thrilled when some of his friends began reading the series just after the party.

I love my Hudson and being his mom is one of my greatest joys. His tendency to see things to completion encourages me daily because that’s actually a huge weakness of mine. It's just another reminder that kids are often our teachers. Maybe that’s why Harry Potter still holds a place in the hearts of so many adults. He teaches us not to give up until the job is done.



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