When I was about 12 or 13, I watched a Harry Potter movie for the first time. Little did I know then, that the series would become one of my favorite fictional tales of all time. Good versus evil, friendship, love. There are more themes throughout the series than minutes in the day. Today, though, I want to focus on one that I think this world needs a little more of right now:

Acceptance.

What a scary, controversial, thought-provoking idea. The thought of accepting others exactly as they are, with no intent to change them.

One of my favorite things about J.K. Rowling's writing is the topics she covers without ever really pointing a finger at them. She never has a character say something like "We must accept each other as we are." I think that is because 1. It's cheesy to point out things like that and 2. She knew her audience would catch her drift. She tells stories in a way that you can't not catch her drift.

So many times Rowling puts into place the idea of accepting each other for who we are.

One obvious example is the whole arc of the friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Never have three people been so different. Ron was poor and not too bright, Hermione was obnoxious and overbearing, and Harry was confused about his own identity. Not only did they accept each other as they were, they loved each other as they were. They recognized that they couldn't do any of it alone, so they stuck together through thick and thin. The boys accepted Hermione in all of her weird habits, Hermione never gave up on Ron, no matter how many times he said something stupid. They chose each other and decided that their friends were worth it.

Another perfect example comes from another group of friends: the Marauders. Remus, Peter, Sirius, and James were best friends. When they discovered that Remus was [spoiler alert] a werewolf, how did they react? Instead of freaking out or exiling him or being afraid of him, they became animagi. (For those of you non-wizarding folk, an animagus is a witch or wizard who can transform him or herself into an animal at will.)

That is true love and acceptance. They found something about their friend that made him feel isolated and freakish, and they found a way to make him feel wanted and a part of something.

If three 11-year-old wizards can make the choice to love people as they are, why can't we? Why can't we work harder to make others feel loved, wanted, and accepted without any reservations? We need to quit looking at each other through an automatic lens of judgment. We need to be comfortable saying "My way is not the only way." If humans are inherently valuable as we claim to believe, if everyone is uniquely beautiful, why can't we accept that unique beauty? Let's choose today to love those that are different from us.

As the wise, old Albus Dumbledore once said: "It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities."