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.

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