This week we continue our February Love theme as we move on to Storgae (familial love) expressed as the love of a Grandfather to his grandson and an older brother to younger in Lois Lowry's The Giver. I read The Giver for the first time around 5th grade and re-read it every year, it is one of my favorite books.
Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community.
When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. – From the back of the book.
Why can’t everyone have the memories? I think it would seem a little easier if the memories were shared. You and I wouldn’t have to bear so much by ourselves, if everybody took a part.” - Page 112
Jonas has been selected as the Receiver of Memory in the social [dis]Utopia of the Community. This is a great honor, the greatest honor in a society that offers no exception for uniqueness. Jonas is the Receiver and, along with the Giver of Memory, one of only two within the Community to carry the collective unconscious of the entire peoples.
Sameness has eliminated fear, wanting, hunger and envy. Sameness is safe. Sameness has also eliminated curiosity, creativity and love. Sameness is grey.
Jonas must choose to carry the burden and keep the safety of status quo or cross the threshold and change the Community forever.
Check out this hilarious review of The Giver by Thug Notes over at WiseCrack.
The three big takeaways from The Giver.
1. Knowledge is power.
When Jonas enters The Giver's library for the first time he is in awe of how many books there are. Within the Community information is very tightly controlled and each household has only a handful of regulatory books. Jonas' strength comes from the memories passed to him but his power comes from access to information and his ability to learn beyond what information is curated for him.
2. Nothing worth having comes without pain.
Balance. Yin and Yang. How can we know Joy without Sorrow. We cannot be safe without danger. Value requires sacrifice.
3. The truth will set you free.
Jonas is set apart from his Community when he is chosen but struggles throughout the book to regain a place. Like so many of us Jonas feels a strong need to belong and fears the specter of loneliness whether real or imagined. Only when his baby brother is threatened does he see the truth for what it is: his destiny lies Elsewhere.
There could be colors... There could be love.” - Page 128
Receiving the Hero Tenets:
Be a person of Action: Memories, good or bad, must be shared between the Giver and Jonas. Piece by piece Jonas receives the collective unconscious of the Community, 'back and back and back.' With each memory and every day he lifts the Giver's burden ever slightly.
Live by a code: The Giver's ethos: Love conquers all. It's code: Loyalty, empathy and curiosity.
[Note: Within the context of all of Lowry's work the global theme is: The future belongs to the children.]
This page of dialogue between Jonas and his parents perfectly sums up the monumental choice set before him:
Champion: Jonas has been chosen as the sole champion of his Community. As the Paladin of Dreams, the receiver of memory, Jonas' burden is not just to carry the memories of the community but to decide whether they are shared.
Be fit: Read a book a week. [I'm extrapolating here.]
Find Balance: The cautionary tale of The Giver shows us that extremism never solves our problems, only hastens our collapse.
Wander: In the Community, Sameness has overtaken everything. There is no colour and therefore no curiosity; no suffering and therefore no courage; no choice and therefore no creativity.
One thing I love about The Giver is that in a short novel of only 180 pages it takes Jonas until page 165 to Cross the Threshold, the struggle is internal. Only when his baby brothers' life is in danger does Jonas commit to Adventure.
Explore The Giver further:
They actually did a very good job on the film despite critical reviews to the contrary. The biggest departure from the book is changing the age of the children from 12 to 18 and that affects certain dynamics within the story like a budding love affair between Jonas and Fiona - something I will concede to Hollywood.
If I had one criticism for the movie it would be lack of subtlety with the major lessons of the giver. Unfortunately, like many modern films, the producers assume their audience doesn't have enough depth to understand metaphor and parable without dialog. As I write this The Giver is available on Netflix but read the book first.
This feature from Fandango MOVIECLIPS is the best promo video available. The "official" trailers suffer from the common Hollywood mistake of giving away the whole story in 2 minutes.
Like the theme of The Giver? Love machine guns and katana swords? Try Equilibrium, The Giver but with machine guns ... and swords ... and, uh, Batman.
Equilibrium proves that great movie came be made without spending half a billion dollars. My guess is you can probably catch this flick on Netflix.
It's February and love is in the air and on the page as we celebrate her power in this months' Lost Library reviews. According to the Greeks there are 7 types of love, we are going to explore 4 of them this month: Starting with Pragma (long-lasting love) below we will move on to Storgae (familial love), then Philautia (loving thyself) and round it off with Philia (brotherly love) in my favorite book Gates of Fire at the end of the month. Stay tuned and enjoy. Comment below.
Between busy schedules and long days, expressing love can fall by the wayside. We forget to compliment, to give gifts “just because,” to linger in our embrace. The things that say “I love you” seem to either not get said or not get through. This is a book about saying it—and hearing it—clearly. No gimmicks. No psychoanalyzing. Just learning to express love in your spouse’s language. - From the back of the book
Love is the most important word in the English language--and the most confusing.” - Page 19
Gary Chapman and his wife Karolyn were set to travel to Africa and begin the life of mission in the developing world. But alas, it was not to be and Gary’s life plan seemed to be over before it began. Every challenge also affords opportunity and although Gary never saw it coming – he set down the path of another journey in counseling that has changed his life and millions of others.
Gary believed it was his duty to find a way to help as many people as he could. It was this revelation and his understanding the message must be simple which led to the 13 easy-to-read chapters that make up The 5 Love Languages – now printed in dozens of languages and tens of millions of copies.
The premise is straightforward: Everyone needs to be loved and everyone expresses and receives love in different but complimentary ways. Chapman started by excising the idea of ‘falling in love’ from ‘being in love.’ Through the middle chapters he outlines the five love languages and provides multiple case studies for each along with solid examples on how to get started speaking your lover’s language.
Full disclosure: Like many men I was skeptical about this book. I found the premise a little touchy-feely and the first copy I owned gathered dust for years before I tucked into it. The language is fluffy and some of the metaphors like 'love-tank' still don't sit quite right with me but it has fundamentally changed the way I consciously express love towards my wife. Like so many, I expressed love, by default, through my primary love language and not through hers. This book made me reconsider that position and has improved our communication greatly.
3 big takeaways from 5 Love Languages:
1. Love is a Language, with five dialects:
Simply put, the premise of the book is this: You must express your love in a manner that your lover identifies with or your lover will not feel loved.
The five dialects are -
Words of Affirmation: Saying "I love you," yes but more than that. Pet names. Compliments, especially public ones. Learn to say I love in different languages. Send a cute or naughty text using only emojis.
Acts of Service: Doing something for your lover that is out of the ordinary. For example if you normally mow the lawn and your lover does the laundry, then both express your love but doing the laundry is a more effective expression because it something your lover would normally have to do. Don't be afraid to ask what needs doing.
Receiving Gifts: Big or small. If this is your lover's primary language than special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays must be celebrated with gifts. Taking the time to grab your lovers favorite candy bar for just-any-old-day keeps the love alive. Buy two copies of a book and share in reading it.
Quality Time: Specific time and occasion set aside for your lover. If you are married with kids this means time as family (like game night) but specifically some time without kids where your attention is focused on your lover. Date night is important, especially if it includes a selfless action like letting your lover pick the movie and restaurant.
Physical Touch: Sex, yes but more than that. A kiss hello. Cuddling on the couch. A soft pat on the bum that says I still find you desirable.
For kids it is overt, like a bear hug. With our son, Michael, we have a family joke that his ears are made of "Beef Turkey" (from before he could correctly pronounce Jerky) and when one of us plays with his ears it says 'I love you.'
2. Take the time to find your Love Language. The most common mistake people make is projecting their love language onto their lover and not taking the time to express love in that person’s primary love language.
This was my biggest mistake. For a long time I expressed love through Acts of Service because that was my primary love language. But, and a big but, Amber's primary love languages are Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. Realizing that I needed to consciously express love in that way greatly strengthened our marriage. It also helped my wife to stop thinking of Act of Service as acts of subservience and express her love in my language.
3. Being in love is NOT falling in love. Long lasting love is commitment and requires work. While Dr. Chapman does have a 5 Love Languages edition for singles it primarily focuses on helping singles find long lasting love. He makes no bones about it, lust and falling in love are just temporary. Staying in love is work.
From 5lovelanguages.com Featuring Love You More by Above the Golden State. Get the Song from the Video.
Love is a choice…freely given.” - Chapter 10
Hero Tenets in Love:
Be a person of Action: You must express Love to your lover – in their Love Language – at least once per day.
Be Excellent: Gary’s advice for parents is that keep your marriage healthy and the family’s emotional health will follow.
Live by a code: Gary’s ethos: Love is a choice, freely given. His code: the five languages.
Champion: Gary developed the 5 Love Languages to express a simple set of ideas to as many people as possible.
Wander: The single biggest threat to marriage and long lasting love is stagnation. Be adventurous with your lover in what you do and how you say “I Love You.”
Inside every child is an ‘emotional tank’ waiting to be filled with love.” – Page 20
The precepts of Gary's 5 Love Languages apply to all long term relationships like that of parent and child.
From left to right: Physical Touch (developing into Words...), Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch and Quality Time.
For more on The 5 Love Languages:
The book contains useful and actionable suggestions after each chapter as well as several appendices designed to help you apply the 5 love languages to your everyday life.
Find your Primary Love Language: Go to http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ and hit the purple button at the top or Download the PDF profile that came with the audio book in our resources tab.
Check out Lavendaire’s great VLOG about The 5 Love Languages:
Dig deeper on http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resources/free-study-guides/. Click on the individual editions and download PDFs of many free resources such as study guides or facilitator guidelines.
#love is on the page with #Lost Library’s #bookreview of @DrGaryChapman #5LoveLanguages on www.wanderlost.today just in time for #valentines
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