Chapter 15 – Caring Despite the Consequences- Parent Discussion

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Chapter 15 is all about the consequences of disobedience for a group of students, and originally I thought I’d write about that. However, after looking at the chapter again, I decided we will tackle that subject in another book and hit a different issue: what I’m calling the consequences of caring.

The first consequences we see in this chapter are that of caring for peers. Neville is the ultimate picture of a friend caring for their peers and reaping the repercussions. The poor guy just wants to keep his classmates out of trouble and ends up right in it with them. This happens often in life, but I want to focus on a different type of caring for this parent discussion.

Emergency Care for a Child in Danger

While serving his punishment in the woods, Harry encounters very real danger and could have been facing imminent death, but Firenze swoops in to the rescue and takes Harry into his care. He takes him to safety and lets him know he’ll be safe now. This immediately made me think of what foster parents do, even more so when I read the reactions of Firenze’s peers. By caring for Harry, he pitted himself against the other centaurs. They were repulsed by his actions for they did not mingle in the affairs of humans. The words Bane spoke to Firenze angered Firenze, but I wonder if they also made him second guess himself later. Ronan says, “I’m sure Firenze thought he was acting for the best,” to which Bane replies,  “For the best! What is that to do with us?” His questions and attitude brought to mind so many questions foster and adoptive parents hear:

  • Don’t you want kids of your own?
  • Why don’t you try in vitro?

While in process of getting our foster parent license, we told a family friend about our endeavors. His reaction surprised us but you might be able to relate:

“But… You’re the ideal couple. Why would you do something like this?”

He went on to tell us about horror stories he had heard from other people adopting. Tales of biting, incarceration and physical brutality.

We have other stories that you might be able to relate to. Our family has experienced the beginning stages of forming a friendship with another family. However, when people discover that our kids have been through the foster system, we don’t get asked to go to BBQs anymore and our invites go unanswered.

Now, I do want to make it clear that we do have some great and supportive people in our lives. We have also joined a fantastic support group for foster and adoptive families through Harmony. However, there is still the feeling of having the public verbally praising you for your “heroic” efforts but keeping their distance like you have the plague.

Now It’s Your Turn:

  1. Why do you think Firenze chose to help Harry?
  2. Why do you continue to foster?
    (We’ve asked this before but it helps to revisit this question multiple times and solidify your thoughts and motivations.)
  3. Do you feel like an outsider since you have begun your adoptive/foster journey? When? How?

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Parents’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17

Kids’ Discussions:
Ch. 01
| Ch. 02Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17

Chapter 1 – New House, New Rules – Kid Discussion

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“‘WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU,’ thundered his uncle spraying spit over the table, ‘ABOUT SAYING THE ‘M’ WORD IN OUR HOUSE?'” – Chapter 1, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets by J.K. Rowling.


 House Rules at the Dursleys

Harry Potter is back to his life at the Dursley’s home. We love celebrating birthdays at our family’s home. However, it seems in the Dursley home that if your last name is Potter, you might as well not have a birthday. Everyone was more interested in Uncle Vernon’s work meeting than in Harry’s birthday.

There was one moment when the family was sitting at the table eating that our family that was really funny. Can you guess which moment that was?

Harry asks Dudley to say the magic word before he passes Dudley the frying pan at the breakfast table. The Dursleys all freak out and Uncle Vernon violently reminds Harry that the word “magic,” is NOT to be used in their home. The whole time Harry was simply trying to get Dudley to say the word, “please.”

Comedy Leads to a Serious Conversation

This comical situation led to a conversation at our dinner table about the different rules that foster and adoptive kids have experienced from changing homes. I, Darren, grew up with my biological parents and we only moved one time during my childhood. In fact we only moved from one end of town to the other end. I have no idea what it is like to change homes constantly during childhood and with moving changing families and house rules.

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One of my sons immediately insisted, “There was nothing different (with house rules).”
I immediately questioned, “What about bedtimes and desserts at our house?
“Yeah. You guys (Margie and Darren) were more strict about our bedtimes than in other homes,” another son piped in, “We also couldn’t eat as many desserts.”

My first son refused to admit that our home was a different experience for him. However, our whole family would admit that he had a difficult time at first in our home. In our home Margie and I have the rule that you eat what is put in front of you and we always try new foods. Consequently, this means that we have various entrees for dinner as well as desserts. One of our sons loved ice cream and was upset when we changed his routine of receiving daily servings of ice cream.

While the other kids tried to come up with a situation or a rule that my first son would admit bothered him, I thought of a situation that effected all the kids.

“What about sharing your toys?” I asked the crew, “You all seemed to have trouble with sharing toys in our house.”

Let me explain that in our home we told the kiddos as they moved into our home that there were a couple of things to know about unpacking their toys.

  1. Toys put away in common areas like the family room were available for everyone to play with.
  2. Toys and belongings put away in your own room are off limits to other people. It’s understood that those are objects that are special to you and items you don’t want damaged by someone else.

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It seems simple enough, right? It also keeps little kids away from your stuff.

My son initially placed all of his belongings in his room.  Not a problem, except that he had more toys than room. However, he managed to get all of his items put away in his room in a relatively neat way. The next issue came thought when he began thinking that people were taking his toys. He also believed that some of Margie and my toys were his. Suddenly, our household had a problem. My son would randomly take toys out of other kids’ hands and yell, “GIVE IT BACK. THAT’S MINE.” A crying child would then come to me and explain that the toy was in a common room. My son didn’t care. He insisted the item was his and wanted things his way.

“Why was this rule such a big deal for you do you think?” I asked.

“Well, we weren’t used to sharing things with kids we didn’t know,” my son finally admitted, “I was used to having toys all in my room.”

“When you’re moving from house to house, it was hard  because you didn’t know if your stuff would get lost or broken,” chimed another kid.

“When we move everything gets put in a trash bad – EVERYTHING,” exclaimed my first son, “You think stuff got lost.”

I didn’t think about that fear. Again we had the rule so that people felt like their possessions were safe.

It’s Your Turn:

  1. Are you ever scared that people will forget your birthday?
  2. What is a rule you don’t like in your house?
  3. Why does your family have that rule?
  4. If you changed homes, what are some of the new rules?
  5. What were some of the rules at your previous home?
  6. What are rules you would like to change in your home? Why?

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Kids’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12

Parent Discussions: 

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04

Chapter 13 – The Importance of Encouragement and Praise – Kid Discussion

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It is chapter 13 and we are back at another Quidditch match. Did you notice a big difference between this Quidditch match and the last one that we read about? Did you notice a big difference in Harry’s attitude between this game and the last game?
Our family talked a lot about the difference between the two games. It seems as though during the first game, Harry was quite nervous and scared. During this game he had a lot more confidence and actually was braver than his whole team and friends. While everyone else was nervous and scared that Professor Snape would be refereeing the game, Harry was quite confident that they needed to try to beat Hufflepuff so that they could do well in the Quidditch standings. Why was Harry so brave and confident this game?
Our family believes a lot of it had to do with the last game that Harry played in the book. In the last game people were encouraging Harry and making him feel confident about his talent to play seeker. Because of that confidence from last game, Harry was able to know that he could do a good job this game. He was able to draw on past successes and encouragement to face his fears.

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Encouragement Shapes Your Talents And Abilities

During this chapter, my adopted kids discussed times when people had cheered them on or encouraged them.

It was no surprise to hear my middle son talk about how he knows he is a good soccer player. How does he know this? While discussing chapter 13, he told me a story about how he knew he made a fantastic and daring goal during a game, because everyone around him was cheering for him. Another time he told me that people came up to him after a game and told him how great of a player he was and that just spurs him on in confidence knowing that he is very talented in soccer. Do you think he would like soccer if people told him he was awful? Do you think he would play as well at soccer if people laughed at him all the time?

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My daughter told me a story about a drawing she had created at school. Her class was asked to make chalk drawings of apples in kindergarten. Parents and teachers alike were all amazed at her drawing. In fact I remember going to pick her up from school, and a mob of parents told me to go down and look at the drawing that my daughter had created. I was amazed to see that I wasn’t the only one staring at its beauty. There were at least a dozen other parents and teachers looking at the artwork on the wall (which I need to get a better picture of as the one below doesn’t do it justice). My daughter to this day knows that she is talented at art because so many people have told her what a great job she has done with drawings, paintings, and crafts. Do you think she would feel differently about her artistic talent if everyone laughed at her pictures? Do you think that she would stop drawing if everyone told her how horrible her pictures looked?

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In both cases the encouragement and praise has caused my children to become more than just a soccer player or an artist. The encouragement has caused them to take their talents and push them farther. My son isn’t just a soccer player, he is a FEARLESS soccer player. My daughter isn’t just an artist, she is a CREATIVE individual. They both strive to do better in art, soccer, or whatever they are encouraged in because they believe they have a talent. Just like Harry was able to become a better, fearless Quidditch player.

We don’t think that any adoptive or foster family can overlook the importance of encouragement and praise. As a family we need to take the time to look at each other and recognize the things that each other are good at. We need to recognize where each other is talented. We need to do more than just see it; we need to speak about it. Foster and adoptive parents need to tell their kids the things that they see them do well. Foster and adoptive kids need to speak well about each other. And not only about the kids, but foster and adoptive kids need to tell their parents when they are doing something well.

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Now It’s Your Turn

  • Tell us about a time you were encouraged or praised by people.
  • What are you good at? How do you know that?
  • Kids, what have you seen your foster/adoptive parents do that really impresses you?
  • What did you think about this chapter?

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Kids’ Discussions:
Ch. 01
| Ch. 02Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17

Parents’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15 | Ch. 16 | Ch. 17