Last week was a rough one. Yes, there was the promise of a long weekend looming and Canada Reads was on, a passionate, intelligent and wonderful debate about books, but there was also Brussels and the outcome of the Jian Ghomeshi trial and the mourning of a public figure who by all accounts was not actually a decent man but in death he was anointed a man of the people.
I hope you will forgive then, my state of mind climbing on the bus after a busy day at work and seeing a group of young people and rolling my eyes at them. There were three of them, siblings clearly, the youngest no more than 11, the eldest probably 14. Two sisters and a brother in the middle, the younger two still in the throes of orthodontic work, the eldest had green streaks in her hair. They got onto the bus with me and I shuddered a little when I realized how close we’d be sitting. I hoped that their ride would be a short one (I ride the line end to end).
They settled in and I assumed they’d either spend the ride harassing each other, not caring about their decibel levels, or heads down on their phones. Obviously the phones would be the preference here, as much as I was ready to lament the state of youth that can’t see past their phones.
When did I become such a jaded a-hole adult?
These kids rode the bus home the whole way with me. And they managed to shrug off my nasty mood and make me smile.
These three kids spend the entire bus ride, an hour, passionately discussing, debating and questioning Harry Potter. It was amazing. They were so smart, had such thoughtful questions, and debated with each other respectfully, listening before responding. They were so good, I wanted to join them.
They mostly spent their time discussing the various houses and what it meant to be sorted into them. Things really took off when one of them said that if you were sent to Slytherin, it meant you were going to be bad. The eldest took exception to this (obviously considers herself a Slytherin), saying that it didn’t mean that you were evil, it meant that you were ambitious which isn’t a bad thing. It’s what you do with that. That everyone has choices and you can choose to be good just as you can choose to be bad.
They were talking about Harry Potter but they made me hopeful about the world again. It can’t all be bad, despite what’s on the news. And even if we’ve totally made a mess of things, at least there are people like these kids coming up who should obviously already be in charge.
So if you are feeling like I was, like the world is a garbage hole and we’re all screwed, don’t despair. There’s hope and Harry Potter and the good will always win.
And to those kids, thanks. I needed that. I hope you guys get to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter soon.