Part 2 of a series exploring practical applications of the Harry Potter series in a Christian youth formation context. Introduction here.
Watching the film version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone again after many years, one scene that leapt out at me was a very short clip when Quirrell bursts in on the Hallowe’en Feast to announce there’s a troll in the dungeon. But it’s the end of the scene that really struck me:
“Prefects will lead their house back to the dormitories,” Dumbledore says calmly. “Teachers will follow me to the dungeons.”
It would have been so easy at that point for Dumbledore to have said, “Teachers, escort students back to their houses and then reconvene in the dungeon.” But the role of prefect at Hogwarts is one that carries legitimate responsibility, and in the moment of panic, Dumbledore honors their leadership and their skills.
I think that’s an incredibly important lesson for us in the church. How easy it is for us to give youth a role of responsibility only to take it back in a moment of panic: when the bishop is coming, when there’s money on the line, when the conversation turns serious.
This is not to say that all youth should be delegated and deputized to do all things. But if we do give youth a role in parish leadership only to take it away when, say, a troll is set loose in the dungeon, then we undermine them and we undermine the church.
Here's a post I wrote a few years about aboug delegating to youth.