“It took quite a while for them all to get off the platform. A wizened old guard was up by the ticket barrier, letting them go through the gate in twos and threes so they didn’t attract attention…. ‘You must come and stay this summer,’ said Ron, ‘both of you—I’ll send an owl.’ ‘Thanks!’ said Harry, ‘I’ll need something to look forward to.’” For most of us, transitioning from a structured routine and social interaction to the slow pace and peace of summer can feel like a trip on the Night Bus coming to a screeching halt; yet, all it takes is one correspondence through owl post, an invitation to the Burrow or the Quidditch World Cup, to realize the constant interaction with friends is what made school special. This month, the Harry Potter Guide reminds school friends simply to stay in touch with one another!
Missing School Life
“[Harry] missed Hogwarts so much it was like having a constant stomachache.” Before you say goodbye to another school year, it is important for students and parents to be proactive. Since student directories become lost or need updating, parents of young children can intercede by reaching out to other parents during end-of-year activities. Having a few key phone numbers on hand may initiate a weekly routine of getting friends together at the park or community pool. Best of all, strengthening friendships will help ease kids into the upcoming school year with confidence.
Learning About Experiences
Sometimes, pen pals occur naturally and other times it requires a few nudges of encouragement. Corresponding through letter writing or e-mail enhances a connection between friends, strengthens writing skills, and, most importantly, encourages feedback from questions and new experiences. Imagine what you would write if Hermione sent you the following letter. “Dear Harry, I’m on holiday in France at the moment…. Did you see that picture of Ron and his family a week ago? I bet he’s learning loads. I’m really jealous—the ancient Egyptian wizards were fascinating…. Ron says he’s going to be in London in the last week of the holidays. Can you make it? I really hope you can.”
“Hello? Hello? Can You Hear Me?”
“Ron was yelling so loudly that Uncle Vernon jumped and held the receiver a foot away from his ear, staring at it with an expression of mingled fury and alarm. And, [Uncle Vernon] threw the receiver back onto the telephone as if dropping a poisonous spider.” One solution to uncomfortable phone conversations is to encourage friends to establish a designated “Skype” session. Imagine the fun of sharing the day’s experiences face-to-face while learning the rules of bantering conversation.
Every birthday needs a celebration. It’s not the party or the gifts that make it “brilliant”; instead, it is the physical arrival or written support of family and friends near and far. In analyzing the character of Harry Potter, we can understand how isolated he feels, especially on his birthday. We beam at the thought of Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, and Dobby reaching out in unique and personal ways to acknowledge Harry. “He [Harry] took off his glasses and lay down, eyes open, facing his three birthday cards. At that moment, Harry Potter felt like everyone else, glad, for the first time in his life, that it was his birthday.” Therefore, take the time to create homemade pictures or cards and send them forth via owl post to brighten a friend’s special day.
“‘This just arrived,’ said Uncle Vernon. He brandished a piece of purple writing paper at Harry. ‘A letter. About you.’” From invitations to having a sleepover, to joining a friend’s family at the zoo, including friends on summer outings can make children feel “warm and contented as though [they had] swallowed a bottle of hot Butterbeer in one gulp.”
And, remember, if a snowy owl taps at your window one night, you never know what message she brings from far away. With friends, there is always a feeling of anticipation in the words, “See you soon!”