lesson 3 (of 7) trust choices: in this first of ‘Dumbledore’s parenting don’ts …

16 Sep


Parents: don’t make all the choices for your children, so they are never, ever empowered

Don’t be a Dumbledore.

Dumbledore makes all of Harry’s choices. From Harry’s birth to his death- Dumbledore chooses. After James’ and Lily’s deaths, Albus places the baby Harry with the Dursleys; (yes- Harry needs physical protection, but why not keep Harry with himself?…and for 11 years and no communication?) Then to protect Harry’s mind, Albus has Harry in Snape’s care. Harry hates Snape. Snape teaches Occlumency with hate to Harry. Dumbledore avoids Harry as he must protect his own thoughts from Voldemort and all others. So Snape teaches Harry. (And Snape shares all his mind as he dies, freely, with Harry: Snape trusts Harry to choose wisely as Harry holds Snape’s humiliations, love and remorse.

Yet, in contrast, Dumbledore is always withholding information from Harry: who had the invisibility cloak and why; how to destroy a horcrux; why he trusts Snape so; and that Harry must die, willingly at Voldemort’s hand. And when Harry begins to doubt, Ron and Hermione tell him to….

But trusting a parent who is not willing to listen or talk with you, is not a choice. It is a power abuse situation where the child is always/ all ways trying to win over the untrusting, unloving parent.

But this can’t be done by trusting a parent who does not desire/can trust you-their child. Nothing can be done here.

Though Dumbledore famously tells Harry, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. …) Dumbledore himself does not believe this. He certainly does not live it through his early, middle and late life. As Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth tells Harry in Hogs Head pub: it has always been about Albus’ search for more and more abilities. Harry, an impossible task?…little, not enough information? … youthful wizards?

Harry is seen by the parent Dumbledore as an extension of himself:

Harry is Dumbledore’s horcux.

Parents do not try to live beyond, thru your children. They are not horcruxs.

Then think as Harry…

“Harry thought of Godric’s Hollow, of graves Dumbledore had never mentioned there; he thought of mysterious objects left with-out explanation in Dumbledore’s will, and resentment swelled in the darkness. Why hadn’t Dumbledore told him? Why hadn’t he explained? Had Dumbledore actually cared about Harry at all? Or had Harry been nothing more than a tool to be polished and honed, but not trusted, never confided in?”

What is then is the first, the overarching, the essential- don’t of parenting don’ts?

Don’t don’t not trust your children to make their own choices. From clothes to red shoes; from ice creams to boy/girl friends, from piazza toppings to college, trust your children to their own first seemingly little choices and then their seemingly larger choices.

Trust their choices; not your own for them.


lesson 2 (of 7) choices: ‘Dumbledore’s parenting do’s …. ‘This is, as they say, your party.’

15 Sep

via lesson 2 (of 7) choices: ‘Dumbledore’s parenting do’s …. ‘This is, as they say, your party.’

lesson 2 (of 7) choices: ‘Dumbledore’s parenting do’s …. ‘This is, as they say, your party.’

15 Sep

lesson 2 (of 7) choices

In the chapter entitled ‘King’s Cross’ Harry Potter awakes in a clear, empty white space. Having just fought Lord Voldemort, Harry is whole physically, yet removed from the earth.

Only a seemingly raw baby’s (under a bench) sad cries, is heard.

Again and again.

Only a surrogate father-Dumbledore- approaches Harry in this clean white space. It is as clean as Harry’s, nakedness, then as his new robes and finally, as his forehead- now without his lightning scar.nothing bonds him anymore, Harry is free.

As Harry and Albus move away from the child, they discuss where they are.

While Dumbledore has no idea, Harry ventures his guess: to Harry it seems like King’s Cross. Dumbledore agrees.

Harry, in an empty clean railway station, is paused on his journey. Where is he going? Dumbledore says ‘ on’ to Harry’s query. He cannot reveal any definitive answers of future choices, paths for Harry. To do so would be to heavily colour Harry’s future path.

Albus can not; will not; be may not be able to speak to Harry’s future steps. No. The choice is now Harry’s. This is Dumbledore’s release: no plans; no more willed gifts/legacies. No more withholding of information from Harry. Things have ‘opened at the close.’

Harry does ask if he should go back to the Earth; the forest; to Hogwarts. To Ginny.

Dumbledore states in response that he does not know the outcome if Harry returns. Dead, Albus is relieved of knowledge of the future. He can offer a guess. He only knows that Harry – as the ‘ better man’ – can relieve the hurts of others by returning.

And Harry can only do so by his own choice. Not Dumbledore’s or Snape’s; Not Voldemort’s or the Dursley’s.

The ‘Chosen One’ now gets to choose. This is Dumbledore’s lasting gift to the ‘boy who lived’: freedom to go on or to return. Harry returns to Voldemort for a final confrontation. A final battle.

He returns.

Any parent or grandparent; any mentor or family member must eventually open their hand and let go or a child. The choice is not really given to the child by the (surrogate) parent though. It is truly given by the parent to him/herself.

Dumbledores, when they stop trying to control their children emotionally, physically and/or spiritually, free themselves to ‘go on,’

Both parents and child are released to their choices. Our choices open and we go on.

lesson 1 (of 7) inflicted – Dumbledore’s parenting do’s and don’ts

31 Jul

A parent is only as happy as their unhappiest child’ anonymous grandparent

In J. K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ Dumbledore’s life ends as he tries to parent. But the child he has been lovingly trying to help at his end is not just Harry Potter, but Draco Malfoy. And us.

Wand less, injured, exhausted, Albus Dumbledore tells Draco on/ in “lightning stuck tower” as The white blond student moves to kill him ‘ … come over to the right side, Draco…you are not a killer’

Draco responses to Dumbledore that without a wand and alone Dumbledore is at Draco’s ‘mercy.’

Albus replies, ‘No, Draco ‘ said Dumbledore quietly. ‘It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now.’ p. 492

At Dumbledore’s life end, these words illustrate the first and most important principle of parenting:

1. All parents will both be inflicted and be inflectors of pain with and for their children.

Draco has mercy; Dumbledore affirms this, yet at this specific moment it is the surrogate parent’s mercy that matters. At this moment Dumbledore feels Draco’s pain and his own coming pain. He is inflicted.

Dumbledore is inflicted by this own loving choice. He wants, deeply desires, to give Draco the choice to either kill him and become another horcrux breeder or to love by putting his wand down.

Parents, Dumbledore tells us in these last acts and words, must accept the pain of stepping back and allowing their children to inflict pain on themselves and perhaps even others. This is how we grow: by making choices, rightly or wrongly.

We can not blame ourselves as parents when our children hurt and disappoint us. We can blame ourselves when we hurt and inflict pain on our children. This is life’s way; God’s design, Dumbledore’s final gift to Draco and parents:

Step back and breathe; let the child chose; even if it means you must fall off a lightning struck tower. Be hurt; be inflicted.

after easter 2, our risen Jesus 1 John 4:19

31 Jul

We love fo He first


We sing for He first sang over us

We can pray as first prayed over and then taught us prayers

We meditate because He listens to our breathes

We walk because He walks with, among all

We fellowship because He ate, sat, slept, thirsted with

Pharisees, sinners and disciples, and, especially, me

We laugh because He loved life

We cry as He wept over death

We serve for He first served us

He knows us; He feels us; He touches, breathes, understands me, us, better than we know ourselves

Jesus is closer to me than I am to


He rose for us


27 secrets beliefs about trains

31 Jul

on the metro, subway

‘I want mercy for myself; justice for everyone else

the good, things I like to do, have on my train trips

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap’

if you are 60 years of age in London, all tube and bus rides are free

for one set fare in NYC you can ride all day from one end to the other (Dyre Avenue, the Bronx, to Coney Island, Brooklyn)

musicians play in the W always of the subway in NYC, from singers to actors; from violinists to drums and more

helpful, friendly staff ( Paris, London, Europe calling)

people giving up seats to seniors, Mums, with children or pregnant with children to come, or to give a seat up for anyone at all

public transportation is the ultimate going green

the baddies, peoples and things who are driving me crazy

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap’

people who stand still in the middle of passageways to trains

those who take up more than one space. standing or sitting

those who stand by a subway/metro/tube doors (and won’t move for love, money or the disabled- this is London calling)

people who play their cell phones loud on the subway (NYC calling)

loud talkers

slow walkers

slow walkers who are reviewing the mobiles/cells

slow walking tourists (please stand aside, preferably to the right)

those who block the escalators by standing next to a companion speaking and oblivious to those who want to walk on the left (please stay right, in your slow lane)

slow walkers )did I say this already?)

the uglies, the unthinkable, the unmentionables, the unimaginable

changing service without any notice (NYC, NOT calling)

‘Weekend works’ with ‘free’ shuttle bus services

urine puddles, (especially in NYC at Penn Station when the weather gets hot) stains and smells on the Metros stairwells, walkways and elevators’ enclosures.

full meals with their assortments of: drippings, visuals and odours left on seats and floors in subway cars and stations

large packages and or bags on seats in cars replacing the living

unbearable announcements on cars

people pressing onto you, touching you, on packed trains

vermin in the subway eating piazza


muffled, muttered, the incomprehensible

oral announcements on the NYC transit cars (I used to tell excited noisy primary students on field trips to understand carefully to such announcements as the speaker was giving out the secrets of the universe-we never could quite get these secrets translated)

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap

a father’s prayer

18 Jun

Mark 9: 21-29

When; how; where did Jesus teach his disciples-prayer?

Here is an overlooked passage

“When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

The father is the faithful prayer. He recognises his personal unbelief. He holds this unbelief as he embraces his son. In the face of daily disease; disappointments; illnesses; possessions, he cries out in a father’s prayer for belief. Healing follows.

My pray for myself:

Lord, I want to have faith; believe; love; empathy- fill

me with faith; empty me of my unbelief 

Lulu..nyc styles

13 Jun

Lulu…nyc style 11 June


It has been a year since you have all heard from Priscilla and Charlie. We are well though facing issues that come as one grows older…

– health/ I am scheduled for knee replacement surgery 11 June

– retirement finances/ planning

– moving house/emptying house

– friends illnesses

– joyful times with 5 grandchildren (3 in Florida…2 in NYC)

– missing our Uk friends and home and English summers

– reconnecting with NYC …its peoples and changing landscapes

And on and on

So we are alive; well; reasonably healthy and quote happy

This June Lulu will be in 2 parts. Today’s will be pictures; part two in the second week of June (crossing my fingers) will be in words.

We start with pictures ….

Priscilla’s birthday !!!

The top 3 pictures are our one NY daughter -Elizabeth-and her husband James and two children -Sam and Charlotte

The rest is Youngest daughter’s Deirdra and her 3 children-Liv; Hero (boy 3) and Albert-8.

We love you all madly.

Charlie and Priscilla

Luke 9:62, a short reflection … He seeds…praying, I follow

12 Jun

As I prayed 12 June this morning

Luke 9:62 (last verse in chapter 9 )has Jesus tell a possible disciple

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

I mediated on this .. and I prayed

Farming is a long term daily process …

If I look back -as a plow thru the events of my life, – my plow lines are not straight but crooked.., and I can’t always see the lines as He sees them …I need to drop all and follow

Then I can trust that…

He seeds

And if my lines were, are crooked Psalm 112 tells me

‘Surely the righteous will never be shaken
    they will be remembered forever They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;…’

He sees.

sent, 4 Advent 2018 the need

25 Dec

On this Christmas Day 2018 family and food; presents and traveling forms a major part of the day. As I close Advent 2018 I have been meditating on how I have been like two sisters in Luke’s gospel, Mary and Martha.

I can be busy and whinny; I can be thoughtful and attentive. I am both. Jesus simply wants me to sit with Him. He does not send me anywhere; Jesus wants me at His feet; like shepherds and Magi; as Mary and Joesph. This day he wants me to sit by Him and be loved. Listen to the one thing that is absolutely needed- Him. He is what I need. Be with Him.

‘At the Home of Martha and Mary

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace; that where there is hatred, I may bring love; that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness; that where there is discord, I may bring harmony; that where there is error, I may bring truth; that where there is doubt, I may bring faith; that where there is despair, I may bring hope; that where there are shadows, I may bring light. that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted; to understand, than to be understood; to love, than to be loved. For it is by self forgetting, that one finds. It is by forgiving, that one is forgiven. It is by dying, that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.