bears

In my past Sorting posts, I mentioned a few of my family members — two of my four brothers, my dad, my sister-in-law, and my niece — because they declared their Houses in a way that was illustrative of the point I was trying to make.

But what about the rest of my family? My oldest little brother hasn’t made a statement about his House, so I’m left to guess about him, but my sister identifies as a Hufflepuff. Also, my mom and my youngest brother have tested as Hufflepuffs and definitely have some good Hufflepuff qualities, and said Puff relatives have inspired today’s post.

However, before we go any further, I have to introduce my sister, who is offended that I didn’t mention her before. She is the first of my loved ones to get an official alias, and she has chosen Sister Bear. She also requests that I show you this very real footage of her:

bear

Sister Bear is a proud Hufflepuff, and she likes bears more than I knew she did before she chose her alias. Like, I didn’t think she disliked bears, but I did not know she thinks bears are basically the best thing ever. Mostly she’s been a vocal fan of dogs and ducks. The more you know, right? Turns out that spending time on the internet did just help me get to know people in my real life.

And given Sister Bear’s indignation, I was glad I’d already planned to write this post on four of the virtues of Hufflepuff.

  1. Focus on People in Reality

I tend to be more comfortable with the idea of people than I am with actual people, and sometimes I shy away from engaging enough with the people in my day-to-day sphere. When it comes to helping people, I often focus on ideas, systems, and organizations that help abroad and at home. For example, I sponsor a child in another country and volunteer as a reading tutor.

Hufflepuffs, my mom in particular, remind me that I don’t have to look outside of my family or friend group to find people who need my attention and resources. While spending time with loved ones isn’t community service, that time and attention helps people stick together and not need intervention from people more distant from the situation. If I can’t see the people right in front of me, then I’m not doing what I should to help people, no matter how much money I donate or how much I volunteer.

If we all took care of the people in our neighborhoods, congregations, schools, and workplaces, then we wouldn’t need so many charitable organizations. We can’t just help the less fortunate. We have to help people not become less fortunate in the first place.

2. Remember What Matters

My youngest brother has been more motivated than the rest of the siblings to work outside school, and he’s not overly fixated on grades, though he’s plenty smart.

Sometimes his lack of concern about grades stresses out my mom, but I think that focus has made him more well-rounded than I am. Because he’s less fixated on proving he can meet whatever standard is ahead, he’s more prone to develop job skills, hone his social skills, and develop other talents and interests.

He doesn’t get caught up trying to prove himself, so he’s better able to figure out what he wants to do and keep his focus on the things that are important to him.

3. Remember That We Change the World in Cooperation

We change the world in cooperation, not through one-off feats of heroism.

Because the truth is, no one non-God person has the power to improve the world as much as movies and books would lead us to believe. Yes, every person can make a difference, but we inevitably have to cooperate and compromise with others in order to make our vision reality. I find this fact depressing, but I’m reassured that Hufflepuffs are fairly well equipped to deal with the situation.

Hufflepuffs are characterized by hard work performed as an investment in human capital and welfare more than by pursuit of glory, so they can deal with world problems fairly efficiently. The greatest tragedy here is that more Hufflepuffs with these skills aren’t in power.

  1. Interact With People Organically

To an extent that Sister Bear finds unnatural and insulting, I tend to plan relationships. I think about what specific means of communication may help me grow closer to family members, and when I think of how to help a friend or family member deal with a specific problem, I come up with a five-step plan based on research and then adjust that plan as it doesn’t work.

Sister Bear reminds me that I have to interact organically and just let people be without figuring out how they fit into my plan or what slot on my schedule they’ll fit into. While preparation may help me socially, I ultimately can’t plan bonding. I just need to meet the opportunity when it arrives.

What have you learned from friends and family members in other Houses? What perspectives and lessons have been the most difficult for you to learn?