Robert Fulghum wrote some of the best books I have ever read.
His phenomenal book "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten"
evoked in me
a flood of memories and presented some unusual
but endearing points of view. Then along came Joanne Kathleen Rowling
and the boy named Harry Potter. After reading the first four books,
I realized that all the things Mr. Fulghum needed to know magically
manifested themselves in some form in J.K. Rowling's Potterverse.
I've read each of the books a dozen times or so, and I've
learned a lot. I'm jotting them down based on Mr. Fulghum's list
(with much apology to him for adopting his format).
Most of the important things that I need to know "about how
to live and what to do and how to be", I found in the Harry Potter
books. There is wisdom in the magical happenings at Hogwarts School
of Witchcraft and Wizardry and in the adventures of the characters. These are the things I learned:
- Share everything. Whether it be anti-Dementor spells, the
Lockhart books you got for free, a Marauder's Map, or the
very last Chocolate Frog in your pocket.
- Play fair. Remember the way Cedric Diggory competed.
- Hitting people is allowable only in the Quidditch field.
And only if you're a Beater.
- Put things back where you found them or don't take them at all. (Lockhart and the Cornish Pixies. You get the picture.)
- Clean up your mess... or Mr. Filch and Mrs. Norris will be
- You should not take things that aren't yours. There are
severe consequences. (Cases in point: Hermione grew fur
and a tail. Barty Crouch Jr. was Kissed. Lockhart stole
the memories of others and lost his in the end.)
- Say sorry when you hurt somebody. (Or you might find her
locked up in the bathroom, being attacked by a Troll.)
- Wash yourself up after Herbology.
- Flush. But be sensitive to ghosts who might be inhabiting
- Hot chocolate can always cheer you up. (If it doesn't, try
a bottle of Butterbeer).
- Live a balanced life. - Study some and play Quidditch some
and take a trip to Hogsmeade some and attend deathday parties and balls and feasts and lobby for house elf rights and hang out in the common room and ride Hippogriffs and eat Canary Creams and set off Filibuster fireworks some.
- Take a nap after time-turning and studying too much.
- "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are
divided... Differences of habit and language (and maybe even species!) are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open."
- Be aware of magic.
- Handsome Hogwarts Triwizard Champions, spiders, unicorns,
even phoenixes -- they all die. So do we. (But phoenixes rise again).
- And then remember those children's books and the first words
you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK. (Look around
corners with a mirror first, before walking on, lest you
encounter a Basilisk).
That about makes up for Mr. Fulghum's list. But I've added
several equally important things:
- If someone makes you angry, control yourself. Don't just whip out your wand and start cursing. (You might turn into a white bouncing ferret or start belching out slugs.)
- It is good to possess the values important to the Hogwarts
Four: courage, wisdom, hard work and loyalty, and
ambitiousness, but only in moderation. Too much of each
will lead one down the wrong path.
- The easy way is not always the right way.
- "...to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great
- Love is good and powerful ancient magic. It conquers all. Even Avada Kedavra.
- "Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus" - Never Tickle a Sleeping
- And of course, who can forget: CONSTANT VIGILANCE!
The important things we need to know are in there somewhere.
We just have to translate it in Muggle terms. Actually, I could think
of more, but they're another story altogether.
One more thing I learned. There's a little magic in each and
everyone of us. We all possess the power to touch the lives of others
and make a difference in the world in our own little way. All we need,
in true Gryffindorian fashion, is the courage to take that first step.
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intro *** 10.14.2001