‘Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.’
– Albus Dumbledore
You-Know-Who was defeated tonight – at least for now. For more than a year Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has sat on my oldest daughter’s bedside table with the final five or six chapters waiting to be read. We had to stop because she was afraid of what was going to happen next.
A couple of months ago I was able to convince my six year old that we should start reading the book her sister had abandoned (I wasn’t about to give up without a fight). I didn’t have the chance to read this series when I was a kid and I loved reading them as an adult. Laura and I tried reading them to each other at night. Inevitably the person being read to would fall asleep and the person doing the reading would have to stop reading against their will so as to not get too far ahead without the other. We gave up on that scheme in relatively short order and started reading them on our own.
When I was a kid I was introduced to The Hardy Boys and I read through pretty well every story written in the various series until I was ready to move on to books for older kids, like ‘the history of chlorophyl’ and ‘the mystery of the Maple Leafs success.’ These might not be totally accurately remembered titles, but I am sure they would be gripping stories.
My daughters both love mysteries, magic and adventures and I was sure they would love Harry Potter if I could get them through the first story. The challenge was to get through the climax – all the scary bits. We have encountered this challenge with other stories and movies before.
Sometimes we need to name our fears before we can overcome them.Click To Tweet
Tonight we were ready to launch into the final three chapters and I was determined to get through all three because I knew there wasn’t any good spot to stop that wouldn’t make them too scared to start again and actually finish the book. We did have one incident where my six year old ripped the book out of my hand to make me stop reading. When I asked what she was scared of, it turned out she was most afraid that Harry would get expelled or lose more points for Gryffindor. Once I assured her that would not happen – I pointed out that there are six more books which wouldn’t be much good if Harry got expelled – we were able to move on. At the end of the book both girls agreed that they liked the story and my six year old immediately asked if we could watch the movie next weekend. I think I’ll aim for the next book instead.
The books I enjoyed the most as a kid and continue to enjoy today are those adventure stories full of suspense and a great climax. My two oldest daughters enjoy reading and my eight year old can plough through three or four books on the weekend. I want to be able to share some of the adventure stories I enjoyed as a kid with them. I still have a box of books that were mine and even some that were my father’s when he was a kid. Some of them will be a challenge because there are no female characters or heroes in the stories and that is ok if they don’t enjoy them. I do hope that we will continue with Harry Potter and that what is currently fear will be renamed as excitement and that they will look forward to adventure stories with anticipation instead of trepidation.
So often in life we allow the fear of an idea block us from trying something new and sometimes we just need someone to help us put a name to the fear and move on to the thing with anticipation.
Tonight we were able to put a name to the thing and follow the excitement.