Well, its no secret that I love Harry Potter. I only have to put it in writing just in case you dont know me, or you know me from a long time ago when I still wanted to be cool. I LOVE Harry Potter. I think the stories are great, very well written, especially for growing kids, and I think they accomplish all of the goals JK Rowling set out to acchieve when she wrote them. They teach kids not to be biggoted, to be brave, smart, and loving, to have a sense of humor, and sense of right and wrong, to not be spoiled brats, and to love people in spite of their own personal disagreements. There have been some great studies done on readers of Harry Potter, which prove that my generation, “Generation Hex” is the term I prefer, is the most accepting, and least biggoted generation in [a really long time. Sorry to be vague, Ill try to look it up before I publish this, but chances are I will forget].
Tyler and I spent 3 weeks with a family “O’the biggest Muggles I ever laid eyes on” this month, and I actually learned a lot; about myself, about my husband, and most particularly about parenting. We were staying just 3 miles outside of the village of Dufftown, the “Malt Whisky Capital of the World”. The family with whom we were working consisted of a stay-at-home mom, a dad who worked (?), and two girls, Heather age 8, and Kirsten age 13. They lived in the big house, while Tyler and I shared the little steading with a woman named Lynn and her 17 year old son, Kyle. What a group. We had high hopes going to this farm, but quickly became discouraged. While the work wasnt exactly exhausting, we found ourselves incredibly tired by the end of the day. Of course, dealing with children is always exhausting, but what we discovered was making us so tired, was the fact that we were expected to perform for these people 24 hours a day. Ill get back to that.
Our work was really interesting, although we were expected to work 4 hours a day longer than our agreement stated. But the work was fulfilling and fun so we didnt complain. We learned to tile a bathroom, from start to finish, and we learned how to pick and point a rock wall. The pointing was very fun, as its just pushing mortar into the cracks between the rocks and then smoothing the whole thing out. As you can maybe imagine, this work required a bit of thought in the beginning, but after a while it became pretty easy. We started listening to Harry Potter on audiobook to help pass the time. This was around the time that we began to notice little things we disagreed with, which are always good things to point out and discuss when you’re considering raising children with someone.
The girls’ father made several comments to us early on, things about how he worked so much (but where!?) that he felt like he was missing their childhood. He would come in for dinner at the same time as us, we would sit at the kitchen table with his kids, while he would turn on the TV, sit with his back to all of us, and “ask” for things like salt by holding his hand over the back of the couch. The girls themselves were their own packet of frustration, as they particularly had no sense of bounderies. The hardest thing though, was to see them interact with kids their own age. They are home schooled (but when!?), and while I personally have seen a lot of people do homeschooling really well, these kids were not getting the beneficial side of it. They had no idea how to relate to other kids their age, and they behaved much younger than they were. It was strange to me that the kids had never read Harry Potter (I know a lot of parents didnt want their kids to read it), but that their mom was so proud of this fact, telling us how they read non-fiction books about World War II instead.
They were, as best I can describe it, children raised without magic. Im absolutely not saying that kids need to read Harry Potter to have a magical childhood, please dont take it that way. These are kids who are growing up in one of the most beautiful and culturally rich places on earth, yet have no interaction with it. Right after they picked us up from the airport, Angela told us that they like to have workers because it “gives the girls culture”, yet every night the whole family told us how everything we do differently than them is wrong; its difficult to learn if you can’t listen.
I write all of this, mostly because this blog is a great way for me to process things that happen, but also to publicly declare that I do not want to be a biggoted person, or a person so set in my ways that I cant even listen to the views of others, no matter what I believe. I learned a lot about what I do and do not want when it comes to raising children, something up till now I imagined I would just figure out as I went. I guess being with the Muggles taught me that I’d like to view the prospect of having a family with more intentionality, and absolutely bearing in mind the responsiblity that comes with it.
(Speaking of responsibility, , The whisky pictures are because I shattered my phone so I have almost no pictures from our time there, also we drank a little bit.)