I have long loved the Harry Potter series. And thankfully, it’s a love that both of my children have absorbed and made their own. Of course I love Hermione and Ron and Harry for their wonderful personalities and growth and just plain awesomeness. But my favorite character (other than my deep appreciation for Snape) is Luna Lovegood.
I’ve been reminded, of late, of why I appreciate her character so much. And despite what my sisters and close friends might think, it’s not just her keen fashion sense. On the one hand, Luna accomplishes what so many of us pretend to achieve. As author J.K. Rowling says, Luna actually doesn’t give a damn what others think of her.
But it’s not just that. Not caring about others’ opinions of oneself can create a callous and cruel personality. Luna is truly confident. She doesn’t have to put others down in order to feel better about herself. She does her own thing and just accepts that some, many, even all may not like it or feel comfortable with it. In addition, she is accepting of others.
And that’s where so many of us fall short. I know I do. Sometimes kindness and calm can be seen as weakness. But letting people be doesn’t mean you are a doormat. And letting people be doesn’t mean you accept their cruelty and callousness either. Challenging others to question their own actions is kindness. The character of Neville has this quality as well.
Living by example is more powerful than a lecture or a rant. Asserting yourself in a kind manner is the strongest thing we can do. It’s difficult, and it challenges us to be honest with ourselves and the world. It opens us up to rejection as well as acceptance; both can be incredibly difficult to receive.
Let’s try harder.