Did you know The Hobbit was published on 9/21/1937? For 83 years, Thorin Oakenshield, Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and the rest have captured our imaginations. However, the The Hobbit has more to offer than just an entertaining story. It provides tremendous life lessons and morals we can apply in our lives, especially our academic lives.
As we ponder the academic struggles currently happening, we can draw some life lessons from Tolkien’s characters. As humans, we tend to learn best when information is presented in story form. We emotionally as well as mentally engage with stories, and that quickens the learning process. With this knowledge in mind, let’s look at The Hobbit to glean wisdom for helping our children, grandchildren, ourselves, or anyone trying to learn new skills.
1). One Must Have Courage To Start An Adventure. – In The Hobbit, Bilbo is extended an opportunity to leave his comfort zone and to leap into the unknown. Each day brings a chance to push past our comfort zones and dive into a new subject. We must accept that it might be difficult, confusing, or even seem impossible.
Bilbo feels this often as he travels with this new group of friends. Sometimes, we want to run away from the opportunity to stretch our minds and stick to simpler things. We throw our hands up and say, “I can’t do this. It is too hard.”
This year with all the different school learning environments, there are hidden blessings. Use the time to teach that school isn’t just about learning the material. It is about learning skills like overcoming doubt, pushing oneself through a tedious or difficult task, time management, organization, and even perseverance.
Like Gandalf, use past adventures or accomplishments to create excitement about the new one. Remembering what you/they have already overcome stimulates desire and confidence for what lies ahead.
2). No One Can Do It Alone – This lesson can be a sensitive one with the ongoing counsel on COVID-19. Everyone is in a different situation this year, and many aren’t in a classroom.
But the lesson Gandalf and Bilbo learn on their adventure about relying on each other for survival applies to the learning experience. Relying on others can happen, whether through Zoom meetings, blog posts, family, etc. We need each other to make it through the tough times. No one is an island. We live in a technologically advanced world, which means even though we can’t always be physically together – we can have face to face interaction to get help and sometimes just a sounding wall.
If you are a parent struggling to help your child with a subject, reach out to family or friends. Don’t be afraid to ask the teachers or the school for help. If you are homeschooling, create a network to assist you. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. It is taught so well in The Hobbit – helping each other is necessary for survival at times. If you aren’t struggling right now, reach out to that single parent or new homeschooling parent, and offer assistance even from a distance. Be Gandalf and guide someone through a challenging adventure.
3). Size Isn’t As Important As Determination – Bilbo is a perfect example of “passion is more important than size.” Don’t let your age, past abilities, history, or learning disabilities hold you back. Bilbo, small as he was, destroyed the ring which those stronger men couldn’t. Believe in yourself and/or your child. Build a passion for knowledge, and don’t worry about the rest. We all learn at our own pace based on our passion and will to overcome self-doubt, obstacles, etc. Learning is no less an adventure than the one Bilbo’s adventure. It is full of trials and tribulations, but in the end, the accomplishment blesses you and those you love.
The last lesson is in Thorin’s message, “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” Learning is an adventure. The accomplishing of a new skill or talent is something to celebrate. Each day our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc are tasked with applying themselves to a new task. Why not guide them through the process and let them rejoice when they conquer it?
DiscoverBooks.com believes reading is an adventure in and of itself. It unlocks the door to untold knowledge and treasures. Want to go on an adventure? Open a book and dive in.
Take time to read. Read to your loved ones. And if someone offers you a new adventure – even Algebra (yes, you will use these skills in real life) – take the opportunity and remember The Hobbit’s lessons.
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