Becoming Harry Potter: Friend of house-elves #MNBHP
Harry Potter asks if he can help Dobby… Dobby has heard of your greatness, sir, but of your goodness, Dobby never knew….”
There is a difference between being great and being good. Voldemort is a great wizard but he doesn’t have an ounce of goodness. Greatness has to do with ability; goodness has to do with choices. Goodness is our character, our humility, the way we treat others—especially those who are considered “lowly” or looked down upon. Goodness is even the way we choose to treat our enemies—Harry rescues Draco.
What struck me in re-reading this passage is that Harry’s goodness is what leads to his greatness. He is good to a Muggle-born and so Hermione becomes one of his best friends and accomplices in taking down Voldemort. He is good to the Weasleys and through them finds family and some of his greatest supporters and fellow fighters. He is good to Dobby and Dobby comes to his rescue in Deathly Hallows. He is eventually good to Kreacher and Kreacher rallies the Hogwarts house-elves to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts. The point is that Harry is a friend of house-elves (and many others) not because of his greatness, but because of his goodness.
Many of us fall into the trap of pursuing greatness (Dumbledore did)—number one in our class, champion Quidditch player, teacher of the year, etc. Which is fine, even Harry strives to be a great Quidditch player, so long as we don’t forfeit our character (our goodness) in pursuit of greatness. As we see throughout the series, it is Harry’s goodness (which led to friendships) that is the biggest proponent in his defeating Voldemort, not his greatness.
Become great by being good. Focus on developing a great character (being trustworthy, faithful, loyal, honest, kind, generous, forgiving, etc.). The saying is: It’s not about what you know, but about who you know. I’ve found that to be true. The problem is that if who you know knows you to be someone of Draco’s or Dudley’s character, you’re not likely to get far no matter how talented you are. At the same time, no one is perfect—not even Harry or Dumbledore.
The challenge is to become a friend of house-elves—an even better friend than you already are. To do this, we have to develop our goodness. I’ve found a great way to do this is to strive to treat others as I want to be treated—no matter how they treat me. I want to be included, not ostracized. I want to be loved, not hated. I want to be encouraged, not put down. I want to be given grace, not judged. Identify one way you can grow your goodness.
How are you going to become a friend of house-elves? Share your answer with us using #MNBHP.
Next Week: Becoming Gilderoy Lockhart: Self-obsessed fraud