From the respectable McGonagall to the affable and sage Dumbledore, it’s hard not to love the professors of Hogwarts. Although offering classes like “Defense Against the Dark Arts” would be particularly useful today, we love Harry, Ron and Hermione’s teachers because of something else entirely. Each teacher, in one way or another, plays an essential role in the development of J.K. Rowling’s young protagonists, often by teaching them not just how to perform magic, but when.
Case in point: When Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised, a magical mirror that shows the heart’s deepest desire, he can’t resist its bittersweet reflection. Donning his late father’s invisibility cloak, he creeps to the mirror in secret. At first, Dumbledore allows him this exploration, but when the mirror’s power becomes too strong for Harry, the teacher steps in. However, he doesn’t punish Harry. He simply tells him, “The mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and I ask you not to go looking for it again. If you ever do run across it, you will now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”
Instead of inflicting punishment, he offers guidance and wisdom. As parents, that’s exactly what we can hope to achieve. Just like in Harry Potter, the world isn’t black and white. It’s our job to teach our kids how to navigate our complicated world with every ounce of wisdom and determination we have to offer. And remember that a good teacher also leads by example.