Tyrants always do

I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series aloud to my kids over the last few months. We are currently about two-thirds through the sixth book. I never expected to find them interesting, but I am totally into it, for better or worse. A friend and I have discussed the fact there are elements to the Harry Potter books that most children are probably oblivious to, but give adults a lot of food for thought. I read the following passage tonight and found it interesting. Interesting enough to save.

If Voldemort had never murdered your father, would he have imparted in you a furious desire for revenge? Of course not! If he had not forced your mother to die for you, would he have given you a magical protection he could not penetrate? Of course not, Harry! Don’t you see? Voldemort himself created his own worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!

Snowy Owl

We went to the Minnesota Zoo yesterday for their homeschool day.  It was fun.  They had set up stations throughout the Minnesota Trail focused on different areas: math, literacy, geography, etc.

One part of the day did not go as planned, but that glitch provided a valuable lesson.

It was a bird demo.  We, the visitors, were going to meet and learn about a snowy owl.  A few minutes after the demonstration was to have started, a zoo employee stepped out from a back room to apologize for the delay.  He was having a little trouble with the owl.

A few minutes later, he came out into the stage and said a few words about the owl. Part of what he told us was that the owl was still learning to be comfortable around people. He described what the owl was supposed to do when it came out, along with some other things it might do instead.

In the end, the owl never did come out. They ended up showing a Harris’ hawk instead.

The zoo employee explained that forcing the owl to come on stage when it was so uncomfortable would have been bad for it and counterproductive to the goal of training it to be part of educational demonstrations.

I couldn’t help but consider how many times adults pressure, or outright force, children to go ahead with things that make them uncomfortable or scared. Don’t they deserve to be treated with at least as much respect as the snowy owl?