Friday, March 23, 2012

Harry Potter

"Now repeat after me.....without wands please.....repeat after me, RIDDIKULUS!"

It seems like every generation has something going on that changes the way we look at the world. This past generation has been inspired by Wizardry and Harry Potter. So I decided to test out his effect on African teens who have never read the books, saw the movies, and most have never even heard of him. I started a Harry Potter movie club—if I had the books here, it would have been reading time, but this is all I have.  I told the kids they would be watching 7 movies that make you believe that the impossible is possible, and you can do anything, no matter who you are! Good message for those who think they'll stay in Mmathethe eating porridge the rest of their lives!  

Personally, I have not read all the books, but I watched my nieces grow and be intrigued by Harry. As my nieces matured, they saw that life imposes bigger issues, yet they were able to watch and identify as Harry matured and struggled as well.  He struggled with his identity, his darker side, he dealt with disappointment from his mentor, he broke rules, was a little hot headed, and showed us that as we grow, our worlds become more complex, less black and white.  But even though he wasn't perfect, he was selfless, and he lived in a world where magic lied not in violence or arrogance, but in people---selfless, like Harry.  

So these kids have come over each Friday night for 3 weeks now, wide eyed, glued to the movies, laughing, and talking about it afterwards like I've never heard them talk before. They even took photos with their cheap, tiny cell phones, of HP on the computer screen, telling me that they're gonna look at the photo every night before going to bed. I want these kids to get that the magic of HP is really spiritual, it influences and challenges us to believe that what's inside matters, to hold ourselves to higher standards, that these girls and boys can find strength to do what's right. To say no without guilt! To go out and think for themselves!  To be MAGICAL! 

Harry Potter may not be real, but the message is in many heads that grew up with him, and I hope that as these kids look at HP, and as they grow, they'll have something to spark their imaginations, just like my beautiful nieces did!

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