Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Albus Dumbledore Said My Favorite Quote

It's our choices that show who we really are, far more than our abilities. - Albus Dumbledore

Yes, I quote Harry Potter books.  I love them and am not embarassed to admit it.  I would wait (like so many others) with breathless anticipation for the new ones to come out and then devour them like candy on Halloween night.  

I hate that they are finished because I'm not one of those people who can re-read a book I love.  I think there are just too many great unread books out there to find, so that's where I focus my energies.    

The quote above came from Albus Dumbledore, headmaster at Hogwarts to Harry toward the end of book five (? - Potter Enthusiasts - correct a girl if she's wrong).  Harry, on the eve of adolescence, wanted all the answers, easily and quickly.  He wanted his abilities to open more doors for him than he felt was happening.  

Professor Dumbledore, among other things said in that conversation, said something which bears repeating:

It's our choices that show who we really are, far more than our abilities.

Do you ever find a line in a book that is so profound to your life at the time that it changes you?  

This one did for me.  We were just learning of Oldest's capabilities, as far as intelligence.  But we were also learning the reality of her resistance to hard work and her often quick response of  "I just won't try at all" at the very first sign of challenge.  It was striking fear in my heart, because I hadn't yet learned that this is a little something called perfectionism.  I thought we might have one of those stories of "brilliant kid never uses gifts and ends up wasting her talent" that you hear about gifted kids from time to time.  

It reminded me of Edison's quote, "success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."   

I wrote the Potter quote down in brigthly colored crayon and posted it over my computer.  I wanted it in a place where Oldest could see it every day, even if we never talked about it.  I wanted it to gradually mold her thinking to "I can't just rest on my intelligence.  I have to make good choices, choices that require hard work, if I'm ever going to go anywhere in life."  Yes, it's a lot to try to plant into a 5 year old's psyche, but I truly believe much of a child's lifetime capacity happens when they are very young.

I started living this in real life.  Without making a big deal about it, I started interjecting into regular conversations, "well, you know our family.  We're hard workers."  OR  "We make good choices."  Sometimes randomly, always when she complained about the difficulty of something.  I wanted her to intermalize that kind of thinking for when things were hard for her.  

And you know what?  It's working.  Some days it's really noticeable, some days it seems to have flown out the window.  Most days, I'm seeing that her mindset is shifting a little bit at a time.  And the most wonderful part is that Youngest, starting at the ground floor of this thinking, is just internalizing it from the beginning.  

It's our choices that show who we really are, far more than our abilities.

Do you have a quote you live by?  What is it about that quote that you love?

***Fascinatingly, I discovered this article about the similarities of Harry Potter and gifted kids while trying to find the book the quote came from - it's worth a look.***  

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