Becoming Who You Are

After listening to the Hidden Brain NPR podcast, a particular piece of the “The Sorting Hat” episode struck me, which you can find here. I’m a big Harry Potter fan and am currently re-reading the series for the umpteenth time. To preface this quote, one must understand a certain concept in the Harry Potter series. For those who aren’t very familiar with the Sorting Hat, let me help explain. The Sorting Hat is put on each first-year student’s head at the opening feast, which is the night that students arrive and before classes begin. The Sorting Hat’s job is to place each student in their respective houses at Hogwarts, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Gryffindor. Each house is named after a founder, which sought certain qualities in the potential students. Hufflepuff favored those who were loyal and just, Slytherin favored those who were considered pureblood (those who came from wizarding families), Ravenclaw sought thinkers and learners, and Gryffindor sought brave and bold students.

The particular quote that struck me was, “Does the hat put you in the house to which you belong? Or, do you become the house the hat puts you in?” The quote was about a Gryffindor character named Neville, who is not deemed as particularly brave or bold in the beginning, but as he grows, he develops these skills alongside his classmates. Did the hat know he would be one of the bravest characters or did he learn these skills? This got me thinking, do you get put into a tribe to which you belong or do you become the tribe?

Everyone has a tribe but do we find these tribes based on our personality and our quirks, or do we become the traits of the tribe around us? How often are you influenced by others around you? When I think about my tribe, I have varying personality types, various goals, and differing life paths, yet we’re all joined by something.

What does our tribe have to do with who we are? Our tribes help us grow as individuals, support us, and help us find our identity. Without your tribe, would you be the same person?

I read No One Gets There Alone by Dr. Rob Bell last week, and he talks of a difficult experience he had during a triathlon. After suffering a broken tire without any tools to change it, two individuals stop and provide him supplies and help. He asks himself later on, would I have stopped to help someone just like those two individuals did? Are those actions based on who we truly are or are they based on who we can be based on the people around us. Does our tribe help shape us into the people we have the potential to be, or is it just a bit of magic that helps us find our way?

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