Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Conundrums of Life

It's reached that time of the year when it feels like everything should be winding down.  There are two and a half weeks left of the school year, three more classes and the final exam for my twice-a-week classes, and (relatively) sunny, spring-timey weather.  Yet . . . everything just seems to be speeding up.  Classes are coming to a close, which means final exams and final assignments.  English Club is having its final meetings, which means that elections are coming up (Am I running for an office?  Yes!!!)  The leaders for next fall's Getaway Weekend have been chosen, which means that we're meeting to get things organized for that.  Some jobs on campus are getting ready to hire people for next year, which means that I have an interview with the admissions department to become a tour guide.  Stress is high, energy is low . . . and the smells of summer vacation and a summer job are calling me home.  There's so much to do, yet all I really want to do is curl up with a novel and spend the afternoon being swept away by stories of knights and dragons and damsels in distress.  I mean, who wants to read about DNA and phonics in this kind of weather?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Random Tolkein Quote of the Day

"I have chosen Mr. Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you.  If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes.  There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself." -Gandalf, The Hobbit
Last week, I found out that I get to be involved in an awesome weekend for freshmen again next year as a leader.  As a result, I've been thinking a lot about  the qualities of a leader and how I can become a good leader lately.  Then, I was on a bus to New York City on Saturday, and I was reading The Hobbit again.  It occurred to me that Gandalf, Thorin, and even Bilbo are leaders in one way or another.  I think Gandalf and Thorin are kind of obvious, but Bilbo grows a lot over the course of The Hobbit, and takes the lead when other characters start to lose faith in themselves.

But, Gandalf is one of the more obvious characters who shows leadership qualities in Tolkien's novels.  I love the faith that Gandalf puts in the characters he interacts with.  Throughout both The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he sees the potential for growth in other characters; and, he's not afraid to tell them when they fail to meet up with his expectations.   He frequently mocks or ridicules for errors they make.  Though his comments may come off as harsh or mean-hearted, I think it can really be interpreted as tough love.  In the quotation above, Gandalf stands up for Bilbo when the dwarves question his abilities.  Although he implies that Bilbo may not quite be the "burglar" they need at the moment, Gandalf expresses confidence in Bilbo's ability to grow into that role.  According to Gandalf, Bilbo has "a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself" (19).  The truth is, we all need someone to see the potential.  Everyone has some aspect of their life that is in need of improvement.  To have the ability to see the potential in others, no matter how obscure or undeveloped, is an admirable quality and one that will lead to success in whatever endeavor the group is working to achieve.

That's all I have to say on the topic for the time being, folks.  I'm thinking about making another blog where I can discuss Lord of the Rings and Tolkien exclusively.  What do you all think?