Opening Words from Sun. April 26 by Mitch Harden

Hello and good morning.

I have been coming to the Ethical Society for about seven years now. We started when my son Rhys was in Kindergarten and wanted to join the boy scouts. I was opposed to this because at the time they didn’t allow gay or atheist scout leaders and I was already one of those and who knows what they future will bring. A friend of mine, Ellen Wilson told me about the Navigators chapter that was organizing here and that was my gateway to ethical. I have greatly enjoyed my time here, but I have a secret. A dark secret. That I have dared not share with you. They say that the truth will set you free, and so I thought in this time where you can not physically throttle me, I would finally share this shameful part of me with you.

I. Don’t. Like. Harry. Potter. 

I don’t like him. I’ve seen all the movies, I’ve read two of the books, and I just don’t like him. 

I know many of you consider this a sacred text and I’m not interested in yucking your yum, but for me, he is so flat. He starts out as a whiny kid who is uncomfortable with responsibility and 8 movies later he ends as a whiny kid who is uncomfortable with responsibility. You know who had a good character arc? Neville Longbottom. That’s a kid who’s going places. Can you imagine how disappointed JK Rowling must be to have written all these novels only to find out she picked the wrong kid to be the main character? How does she sleep at night? I suppose on a large pile of money.

The stories I like are of characters that grown and develop. Like a backwoods farmboy who is only interested in picking up power converters from Tachi Station leaving his home, meeting his family, having a falling out with his dad when he tries to give him a hand, and ultimately saving the galaxy by NOT fighting the big bad. Or a restless homebody finally leaving his hole in the ground to soar with the eagles, slay the spiders, ride the barrels and burgle a dragon. 

This is also why I love volunteering in the Coming of Age classroom. I get the unique opportunity to watch our kids really examine our core values. Consolidate their ideas into personal philosophies. The steps they have taken in our class are amazing and transformative — and I got to see it happen. I don’t mean to brag…. But it is truly awesome. And now today you all get to witness the culmination of our time together. You get to see our little Caterpie’s transform into Butterfree’s. This isn’t the end of their metamorphosis though, I know they will go on and do amazing things maybe here, maybe elsewhere. In any event I invite you to enjoy today’s graduation and welcome with me some amazing humans that are developing in our world.

NOTE: The ideas and opinions in this post do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.