14 Reasons Harry Potter is Great for Teaching Kids (& adults) the Power of Positive Thinking (part1)
Yes, I admit it I am a potterhead. I have been a fan of the Harry Potter books and movies for many years. No pun intended, but there is something very magical about them.
The story starts of fantastic and gets better with each instalment. I am thoroughly entertained each time I pick up a book or put on a movie. But there is more to these stories than just entertainment, the messages in the books and movies are quite clearly teaching us some life lessons, and if you look closely you can see that Positive Thinking plays a big part in this.
If you haven’t read the books or watched the movies, I cannot recommend them highly enough.
The third book has always been my favourite, and it wasn’t until I made the connection with positive thinking that I realised why... you’ll see what I mean in a minute. I have outlined just some of my favourite positive thinking messages from each book/film.
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone)
When Harry, Ron and Hermione try to stop Lord Voldermort from getting the stone which had been heavily protected by magical charms, they are met with a series of challenges to get through along the way.
One of the challenges was the Devils Snare – it pulls you in, tangles you up and traps you if you fight it. But if you relax, it has no hold on you, and you can get through it. And if you can’t relax, throw a little sunshine on it, and it cannot hold you in its grasp.
This is a great metaphor for life, it gets complicated, we easily get tangled up in our problems letting them pull us down and we feel trapped. When we relax, and feel calm we approach problems differently, add a bit of positivity (sunshine) and we no longer feel trapped, we find a way out and can move on.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
For someone like me who’s a bit of an arachnophobe this movie was absolutely terrifying!
Harry and Ron (who’s also an arachnophobe) were led to Hagrid’s friend Aragog – a giant spider, who was surrounded by his whole family of spiders.
There will always be help for those that ask for it.
This is demonstrated on two memorable occasions in this movie:
· Harry and Ron are in Aragog’s lair and just when they thought they wouldn’t be able to escape with their lives the Ford Anglia magically arrives to drive them to safety.
· Harry has gone through to the chamber of secrets to rescue Ginny Weasley, Harry Defends Dumbledore to Tom Riddle, he stays loyal to him and doesn’t lose faith despite the current circumstance. Help came in the way of Dumbledore’s Phoenix – Fawkes and the Sword of Gryffindor.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
My favourite of all of the books – so many Positive Thinking messages in this one! And the movie is the owner of one of the most famous quotes of all the Harry Potter series – “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”.
Let’s start with the Dementors – the most negative of creatures. When Harry, Ron and Hermione are on their way to Hogwarts at the beginning of this story, the train stops and the dementors - The dark ghostly figures that usually guard Azkaban, the prison that Sirus Black has just escaped from - board the train. As they do so, a cold sensation comes over the whole train. One of the dementors opens the door of Harry’s carriage, He becomes weak, he feels the happiness being sucked from his entire body, until he passes out.
Doesn’t sound very positive does it? But it is a lesson on hanging around with negative people, people who complain all the time, have nothing nice to say about anything or anyone, gossiping, finding problems with everything... they too will suck the happiness from you.
Note: Harry is offered chocolate from a professor as it apparently helps to make you feel better -– works for me every time :)
Respect and Kindness
Harry’s new schoolbook – The Monster Book of Monsters – attacks anyone who tries to open it to read. One student asks Hagrid, who had just been promoted to teacher of Care of Magical Creatures, how to open it – “just stroke it spine of course”. Being kind even to seemingly unreasonable people can make all the difference.
Buckbeak – the Hippogriff - a magnificent creature the back half of a horse and the front of a giant eagle, who does not take kindly to disrespect. A simple bow to him will make you his friend.
Treat others how you wish to be treated.
The Riddikulus Charm
The new defence against the dark arts professor teaches Harry’s class to perform the riddikulus charm against a Boggart – a shapeshifter that takes the shape of what you fear the most.
‘The incantation it’s self is not enough, what really finishes it of is laughter.’ To make it really effective you have to think of what you fear the most and make it funny. You can’t be scared of something if it’s making you laugh out loud.
So next time you have to face one of your fears, make it riddikulus!
The Patronus Charm
Harry was taught how to produce a patronus way before any other student. He was particularly susceptible to the Dementors as he had been through so much already in his life (in my experience, this is true of us muggles too, those of us that have had it tough, get drained by negative people quicker).
The patronus charm - Expecto Patronum – is positive in itself, it’s not 'I’d like a patronum’ or ‘one day I’ll get a patronum,’ no, it’s ‘Expecto Patronum’. If you expect it – it will come.
But much like the riddikulus charm is not enough on it own. But this time you have to accompany it with the most powerful happy memory you have, together they will create a positive force that creates a protective shield between you and the happiness and soul sucking dementors. It will only protect you as long as you stay focused on the memory, and remember it has to be a powerful memory, the happiest you can remember, allow it to fill you up.
If you find yourself in the company of negative people and you feel your positive energy draining away, give it a top up by reminding yourself of happy times and feel your mood lift back up, then make a note to self to find more positive people to hang out with.
Note: the fact that the words alone are not enough is also related to Positive Thinking. When saying your positive affirmations, they are not enough on their own; you have to say it until you can feel it before they will have any effect on you or your life. Try saying how grateful you are for something, without feeling it and you just have empty words. It doesn’t matter what you what you are saying, if you don’t really feel it, words are just words, without feeling or an emotional attachment they mean nothing.
Thank you for letting me share my take on Harry Potter’s lessons of Positive Thinking, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you did enjoy it look out next week for part 2 :)
Remember you're better than you think you are :)