I may be opinionated, but I don’t usually call the radio and let ‘er loose. On Friday afternoon, I did just that.
You see, a sweet friend called and told me there was quite an animated discussion about Harry Potter on our local Catholic radio here in town. It was a national show, but broadcast on our local affiliate. At first, I was like, “Oh, I’ll tune in and see what they’re saying.” I figured there would be equal play and I was curious as to how the discussion was going. After a few minutes, I’ll be honest. I was horrified at what they were saying. And I quote…
“The Harry Potter series is an invitation to sin.”
“After reading Harry Potter, droves of young people are delving into the occult, researching real witchcraft and wizadry and turning to Wicca.”
“Parents would be ill-advised and irresponsible to let their children not just read the series, but watch the movies.”
“Harry Potter is not Christ-like, he is evil and JK Rowling has woven a fascinating tale of evil.”
Hold up there, skippy.
You know how you get all trembly because you are so frustrated and are trying to arrange your thoughts in an articulate manner? That was me. I dialed and after hearing my counter-argument, they patched me right through. I’m guessing I was either 1) good for ratings or 2) a poor soul they could beat up on, or 3) both.
“So, Kathryn from Austin, tell us your thoughts on the Harry Potter series.”
And I did. Hopefully eloquently. I mentioned that the series uses magic as a conduit, but that the real issue at hand is the point of the book: good vs. evil and love vs. hate. End of story. How Scott and I’ve seen it as an invitation to talk with Will about evil in the world and how to confront it, battle it and ultimately be a disciple of Christ. And, how we look forward to reading the books and watching the movies with all five of our children.
That did it. That’s when the priest said parents were being led astray and five years down the road my kids would most likely be on a path to championing the occult cause.
For the love. I wanted to respond, but they cut me off.
Let’s shoot straight, shall we? Our job as parents is to provide experiences for our children to learn. To catch them when they screw up (and they will) and lead them to make good choices. We should show them how to constantly ask themselves, “Is what I’m doing glorifying God or glorifying the Devil.” For every parent, that is a constant struggle. No one choice is the right choice for every family, for every child, for every situation.
I’m reminded of my own misgivings. I am a Christian, but I have missed the mark so many times. Yet, somehow, the learning experiences, the guidance of my parents and ultimately the grace of God has allowed me to decipher right from wrong, good versus evil. But sometimes I have to be wrong and experience evil before I get to right and good.
There was the time in high school when my then-boyfriend was home from college. He picked me up for a date and before things got rolling he asked if I wanted to smoke a joint. Um…NO. Take me home. Date over. Never talked since. Clearly, I made a bad choice in going out with him, but by the grace of God I got out of that car.
In college, during my time as a 4-H camp program staff, Scott came up to visit. While he was getting ready in the bathroom, I turned on the TV, fell asleep on the bed and then was summoned to the director’s office. The TV was mistaken for “inappropriate behavior” and I nearly lost my scholarship. That’s when I learned the harsh lesson of “perception is reality” no matter how jacked up it may be.
As a mom, I could write my own book series of my missteps. But let’s not go there.
Point being? I’m hearing a lot of talk about how evil Harry Potter is…from people who have never read the series or watched the movies. From what they’ve heard on the radio, Googled or perceived the series to be.
That sure sounds a lot like what non-Christians say about Christianity.
If you’ve read the series you’ve seen the beauty in Harry’s final sacrifice. You’ve learned to fall in love with his friendship – true and pure – with Ron and Hermoine. You’ve seen how Voldemort’s way (complete with his pesky SERPENT) never works no matter how hard he tries. You read about the magic, but it is the relationships that keep you hooked. It is the love that makes you believe good can win. And it does. I say, don’t be so quick to judge until you’ve read it for yourself.
We set firm boundaries for our children and set our standards high – real high. But, keeping your kids in the bubble, sheltering them from the secular world is not the way Team Whitaker rolls. How blessed are Scott and I that we get to have these discussions with Will while he’s still living in our house. We get to help form the conscience, shape the character. In eight short years, those lessons will be cemented. Our day-to-day job as parents will have ceased. What kind of a young adult will we have created? One who shies away from everything that doesn’t conform to his thinking? Or, one who meets people where they are and shines as a Christ-like example? I hope the latter. I’m praying for it.