The revered Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Professor Dumbledore was always a fan-favorite character in the Harry Potter series. Although his character may have become more secretive in his later years, he was always there filling his students with the lessons and wisdom they needed to succeed.
A few of Professor Dumbledore's earlier words to his students - mainly to Neville Longbottom - became an extremely important lesson to the budding first years.
Towards the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Dumbledore commends Neville on his bravery, stating:
"There are all kinds of courage," said Dumbledore, smiling. "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom."
While we ended up seeing Neville and his fellow students take this and many other pieces of advice from their sagely professor, I had never put much thought into where these lessons came from in Dumbledore's life.
As Redditor Toasted-Dinosaur (great name, by the way) points out, there was once a time in young Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore's life where he could have learned this lesson and spared himself a lot of pain and inner-turmoil.
According to Toasted-Dinosaur, this lesson may have come from Dumbledore's teenage years when it would have fared well for him to stand up to a dear friend, specifically Gellert Grindelwald.
Before Gellert Grindelwald was the powerful Dark Wizard that we knew he became, he was Albus Dumbledore's dearest friend.
The two planned to become the masters of death after finding the Deathly Hallows, revolutionizing the Wizarding World in order to overturn the Statute of Secrecy, and eventually bringing a number of fair witches and wizards to be the overlords of both worlds. Dumbledore aimed to achieve this to end the xenophobia that caused his little sister Ariana's breakdown, but Grindelwald had darker motives.
Before their plan could officially come to a head, however, Grindelwald and Dumbledore got into a three-way duel with Albus' brother Aberforth, which resulted in Ariana's death. Ariana's death was always one of Dumbledore's greatest regrets.
Had Dumbledore had the strength to stand up to his best friend, like Neville did to Harry, Hermione, and Ron, maybe his sister would have still been alive.
Part of what made the professors at Hogwarts the type of educators that all students deserve is that they were willing to learn from their own past failures, accept them, and impart their wisdom to future generations.
I think that the parallels between Dumbledore's line to Neville and his own past line up very nicely. Just imagine, that first quote was from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and it doesn't end up coming full circle until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Well done to Toasted-Dinosaur for finding that and, of course, to J.K. Rowling for pulling the story together so perfectly!
(Source: Reddit, Toasted-Dinosaur)