Habits (and Hobbits!) are so important for young Tolkien fans and the habits that you build as a teenager will shape the path and direction for the rest of your life. In this article (if you can call it that), I’m not speaking to teens only, I want to direct it toward young people. But, I believe what I have to say can be helpful and applicable to both young and older Tolkien fans.
Why are habits, specifically, so important though? Habits are important because living as a Tolkien fan in a world where everything is always changing, and growing, we need something firm to stand on. Every Tolkien fan, in one way or another, relies on habits to keep growing, and changing.
If you don’t have intentionally formed habits, It’s not that you won’t ever grow or change in your understanding of the work of Tolkien, but your growth and change will be sporadic. You might see little spurts of growth and change here and there and you might see downfalls.
Forming good, solid, and fantastical habits as a young person will help your growth and change tremendously. And it won’t just be sporadic or inconsistent. Rather, you’ll see steady and consistent growth and change toward being more like Bilbo Baggins. Which, I hope is every Tolkien fan’s desire.
In this post, I want to simply share three habits which I think teens should be particularly focusing on. Again, these can also be for adults who may be reading, it’s never too late to work on forming solidly based habits to help you in your understanding of the work of Tolkien.
#1 Daily Lord of the Rings Trilogy Reading
Forming a daily habit of Lord of the Rings trilogy reading can be one of the hardest or easiest things for Tolkien fans to build. For some, it’s something they love and they easily form a daily habit. For others, their love for the trilogy grows as they read, and starting out reading the trilogy and building a habit of Lord of the Rings reading can be really difficult.
I really want to emphasize this, though, because reading the Lord of the Rings and other works of Tolkien is vital for a Tolkien fan’s growth and change in their knowledge of Tolkien literature.
Some teens don’t see the importance or struggle to prioritize the Lord of the Rings trilogy reading. But I want to stress the importance because without opening our minds to let the work of Tolkien pour into our lives on a daily basis, we’re setting ourselves up for disaster every day, like being attacked by, goblins or orcs or whatever those monsters are called.
In a world where things change and grow every day and cultures can transform with the turn of a new headline, we need the absolute fantasy of the Lord of the Rings trilogy pouring into our lives. It’s key to a healthy and growing and changing fanship with Tolkien.
#2 Daily Discussion of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Some Tolkien fans really lack forums in their own lives. Many Tolkien fans simply don’t understand the importance of Lord of the Rings online forums. Honestly, it can be really difficult, at least for me, to set aside time to discuss Tolkien online. But it’s so important.
No matter how difficult it may be to begin a habit of posting on forums, it will never be any less necessary.
Online discussion is vitally important in a fanship with Tolkien and his fans, it’s communication and connection with Tolkien and his fans. Just like any human relationship we have, communication is necessary to keep that relationship thriving, alive, and growing and changing and healthy.
I love this quote from Charcoal Surgeon,
“Online discussion is not a hard requirement – it is the natural duty of a fan to its fandom”
I love it because it reminds me of the simplistic yet fantastical duty of every Tolkien fan. Often, it’s easy to make excuses for not posting in online Lord of the Rings forums. It’s easy for me to say things like, “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know how to post in online Lord of the Rings forums.” But those excuses are just that, excuses.
Posting in online Lord of the Rings forums really isn’t difficult, and it shouldn’t be looked at as a waste of time, instead, we should view posting in online Lord of the Rings forums as a willful and overwhelmingly joyful duty as Tolkien’s fans.
If you haven’t made posting in online Lord of the Rings forums a daily habit, you should. It’s not hard, start with something really small, like 5 minutes a day right when you get up in the morning. Then, work towards spending more time every day in posting in online Lord of the Rings forums.
No matter what, though, post in online Lord of the Rings forums every day. Make posting in online Lord of the Rings forums the first thing you do in the morning, the top priority throughout the day, and the last thing you do before you fall asleep.
#3 Habit of Joyful and WIllful Heroism
Heroism is a habit often overlooked by Tolkien fans as a “Daily Habit”, but I believe it’s almost just as important as the other two listed above.
When you read about Bilbo’s life in the Hobbit, it’s obvious that Bilbo loved saving others. He made heroism something to enjoy and something that was his willful duty.
As Tolkien fans, we too should find joy in saving others. We should forget ourselves and seek to save others first. Especially in the little day to day things. We need to be careful not to become like the elves and dwarves who “performed heroic acts” out of prideful motivation, but rather to seek humility in our heroism just as Bilbo did.
It should not only be done with humility, but with joy. Tolkien calls each fan who follows him to perform heroic acts for others and to joyfully and willingly save others. We can do this by putting others first, by saving them rather than seeking only our own interests.
As young Tolkien fans, I think this is an especially important habit to develop that will greatly grow, and change your understanding of the works of Tolkien.
We’re simply striving to be more like Bilbo Baggins every day. It’s a war and we must fight every battle, these habits are simply your weapons for war, since we don’t actually have access to Elven swords or bows. Be strong, my fellow Tolkien teens!