Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Albus Dumbledore
I could not rightfully declare an entire month of EINTKILF posts dedicated to Harry Potter without honoring Professor Albus Dumbledore. That would just be inappropriate, though I must admit, sticking to ten lessons for Dumbledore is kind of a ridiculous thing to do. I reserve the right to revisit lessons from Dumbledore in the future. That being said, Hogwarts’ wonderful headmaster, Harry’s dear friend, the greatest wizard we’ve ever known—thanks for the lessons.
EINTKILF Albus Dumbledore
1. Everyone has skeletons in their closet.
Dumbledore is such a perfect specimen, hardly any of the students of Hogwarts could imagine that he had ever done anything that could potentially be perceived as immoral. Without getting too spoiler-y, it must be noted that even the absolutely most composed and intelligent human beings have seen their fair share of mistake-making, heartbreak, and family business. If Dumbledore is not perfect, truly no one is.
2. Choose the right way.
“There will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”
Dumbledore is not usually the kind of man to tell someone exactly what to do, but obviously, he is implying that the easy way out is not the right way. Right? Right. As someone who always chooses the right way—okay not always—I wholeheartedly get down with Dumbledore’s implied advice. Especially in the case of a wizard war, maybe not so much in the case of choosing between finishing your assignments and sleep, you know? Sometimes a gal is tired.
3. Keep your head up.
Of course I love this lesson, delivered by Dumbledore, or Tupac, or anyone else. I have been known to advise keeping your head up on the daily, because I am a firm believer in carrying on with strength and pride.
“We must try not to sink beneath our anguish, Harry, but battle on.”
And battle on Harry does, long after SPOILER ALERT Dumbledore has passed, and honestly, by the time Dumbledore is taken out, Harry has lost so many figures of importance to him that there was never any doubt that he would not battle on.
4. “Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them.”
Dumbledore says this to Harry when explaining that the Sorcerer’s Stone is not all that great of an object because it allows human beings to have tons of money and access to an endless life—two very dangerous things, which is where the “things that are worst for them” comes in. Pretty sure I have cited this quote somewhere else once or twice or a million times before. Honestly, truer words have never been written.
5. Have a sense of humor.
Dumbledore is such a seemingly serious wizard, with his long ol’ white beard and intentional tone to his voice. He is wise, and tall, and he rules an entire wizarding school. But besides all of that, Dumbledore is the one who can be seen telling jokes, laughing at jokes, and ultimately, he is usually kept in check by Professor McGonagall.
“I am not joking, Mr. Weasley, though now that you mention it, I did hear an excellent one over the summer about a troll, a hag, and a leprechaun who all go into a bar. . .”
6. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Figuratively, mostly, but Dumbledore also means this literally if you are cool enough to have a deluminator.
7. Choices > abilities.
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
I am super into this lesson because I do not have many abilities (aka talents), but I can certainly make a wise choice. Thanks, Dumbledore!
8. Whatever you believe can be real.
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean it’s not real?”
So when you dream, even at night, it can be considered real. As long as you don’t run around telling people that you are actually carrying Ryan Gosling’s child, I am pretty sure this lesson is a good thing. Nah, but seriously, I have dreams about my dog who passed away, and he is always happy, and young, and energetic, and I totally think that’s a real thing. Like that is exactly what he is doing out there in the doggy afterlife.
9. Courage comes in many colors.
“There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
I have zero idea why this line gets to me so much, but honestly, it has never failed to make me cry. When Neville, who we all know turns out to be the absolute best, stands up to his friends and actually gets rewarded for it? Chills all over my body even writing this right now. There is something so special about the underdog, and Neville Longbottom defines underdog. I love the underdog, and I love when recognition is appropriately given. Ten points to Dumbledore for giving ten points to Neville. One million points to Neville for being my hero*.
10. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
I have said it before and I will say it again, I want this tattooed across my forehead so when I look in the mirror, I remember it. It is my very favorite Dumbledore quote, and definitely something that I believe we can all learn from.
Oh, Dumbledore. The greatest. <3
*Still have a shirt from Hot Topic that has the words “my hero” on it and a picture of Neville. Still wear it at age 27.