Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Defense Against the Dark Side: Where’s Harry Potter When We Need Him?

April 23, 2015

A Good Use of Power

A Good Use of Power

In our 40 years together, David and I have read many books. Add another hundred or so books on tape we’ve consumed on road trips. Yep, we’re addicted to good stories. So it wasn’t too weird when, after a business trip to Florida and a side trip to Universal’s Wizarding World, we decided to re-read all the Harry Potter books… aloud… to each other.

Starting in mid-December, I’d read a couple chapters over breakfast each morning. At dinner, with wine and candlelight, I’d read another chapter or so. If we were driving for more than 20 minutes in any direction, I’d read aloud in the car. (Yes, I can do that without barfing. Lucky me.) At the end of each day we’d watch the film adaptation of the current book, making sure to stop when we got to a new part (i.e., a section of film we hadn’t yet read.)

To date we’ve completed six books and six films. (When we get into something we really get into it.) We’re now half-way through Book 7.

Ever since the kids of Hogwarts took their education into their own hands, I’ve been thinking about the Dark Arts as it relates to the dark side of humanity. While we rarely hear about jinxes or debilitating spells, we’re plenty aware of public humiliation and shaming in social media. Character assasination is a curse, high on the list of Dark Arts. So how do we defend ourselves against the real and present danger of social garbage? How do we teach our kids to defend themselves, online and off, from the hostility of their peers? Where is Harry Potter when we need him?

When I think about what it means to defend oneself, I picture someone standing up for their rights or the rights of others and actively fighting back against the vitriol. But there is inherent danger when one uses vitriol to fight vitriol. The weapon we use has the power to infect us and make us more and more like the perpetrators we seek to vanquish. We can so easily become the enemy. Doing the right thing in a good way isn’t easy.

How do you help your children defend themselves against the prevailing Culture of Cruelty? How do you teach them not to succumb to its ways? Post here and let’s get into it. You can also follow my tweets at @Annie_Fox and @GirlDramaChat. Every Friday you can join the conversation as I host #girldramachat, a weekly Twitter chat (11AM PST) to help parents/teachers/counselors support girls thru friendship drama w/compassion, respect & social courage.





Life lessons from the berry patch

July 20, 2009

The fruits of my labor

The fruits of my labor

“What am I doing here?” I wondered, venturing deeper into the blackberry thicket. “This isn’t what I planned for today.”  I’d planned to finish the first draft of the chapter I’m writing for a future installment of Middle School Confidential. Actually, that was my plan for last Friday. Didn’t happen. Can’t even remember exactly why. Maybe I spent too much time in the garden inhaling the lavender. It’s possible. Anyway, Friday was a wash.

Saturday looked like a promising writing day, but with the Open Garden Project in the morning, making focaccia for a friend’s birthday and teleporting it and us to that fine celebration… well, scratch Saturday.

By Sunday morning I’d scrubbed and primed my work ethic. My desk was clear. My notes organized. But then we remembered that we hadn’t yet seen Harry Potter. So that was that.

Which brings me to today. Got an early start. Then I had to bake muffins. What else was I to do with those decomposing bananas? Twitter my fruit fly followers and invite them for lunch?

When David and I finished  breakfast I couldn’t believe it was 12:24! That’s late even by Fox standards. (No we are not sloths. We’re highly productive freelance telecommuters who just happen to keep odd hours, thank you very much.)

By 12:45 I  really was all set to resume work on my chapter. But we had a package that had to go out today. And since we missed the mailman we had to walk it down the hill to the mailbox.

After that I really should have gone home with David. But I wanted to snag some blackberries. I mean, really, the season is sooooo short and right now they’re pretty much at their peak of indigo lusciousness. Couldn’t resist… weak-willed mortal that I am. So that’s how I happened to be in the berry patch. And even though I haven’t officially started my “work day” (now it’s 4:27 and I’m blogging, which doesn’t actually count) recriminations aside, there is much wisdom to be gained by not following The Plan. For example:

1. You can’t hurry love or fruit.

2. Rewards require effort unless you hit the lottery.

3. Take what you need and leave the rest otherwise you piss people off.

4. Avoid thorns and thorny individuals.

5. Everyone reaches full potential in their own time.

6. Sometimes it’s nice to be where no one can reach you.

7. Go for the low-hanging fruit first, that’s why it’s there.

8. If you hide your gifts, you risk being underappreciated or overlooked.

9. Monday is just a word, not a sentence.

10. Blackberry juice stains. – Yep.

Filed under: Parenting,Tips — Tags: , , , — Annie @ 4:33 pm
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