a favourite book for encouraging peaceful responses to life's (many) minor problems

Of course they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything.
— The Giver

The Giver is one of our family’s favourite books—it’s thought provoking and gripping and leaves you with a whole new way of looking at the world.

But it can also be a handy parenting tool. For instance, I found this on our family blog from 8 years ago, and thought I might share it with you:

Poor Peet—being 13 years old is a pill.

A couple of nights ago we had a discussion about responding calmly to minor offences (the definition of a minor offence is still at issue) and I explained that I only have three tricks for changing teenage behaviour.

- Talking and reasoning.

- Renewing perspective by teaching about world events, history and the plan of salvation.

- Removing distractions—eg computer time (on the basis that young brains sometimes can't stop processing things like computer games long enough to process kindly responses).

Having tried all but the last, I suggested we try that one. Peet assured me that the others would probably work if I'd just try a little harder. I'm giving it my best shot.

We have been talking about peace and the results of peace. We have been noticing the tender hearts of brothers and sisters (and mothers).

We have been reading The Giver and talking about how important it is to have choices and learn from them. [new italics]

We have been reading scripture and talking about the results of unkindness.

We have been practicing calm and promoting calm by slow evenings filled with reading and music and bonding games—like Pictionary (we don't set the bar too high around here).

We've talked about the importance of enough sleep.

And slowly I think we are getting there. Tonight Peet is reading to Max in bed and I don't think he's had even one unhappy moment.

(In Peet's defence people laugh at me when I tell them he's hard work—it's just that he does so much else right that any wrong stands out like a sore thumb and screams to be worked on.)

Actually all four of the books in The Giver series are good to read for the same reasons—they offer a perspective on life, goodness and humanity that is enthralling, troubling and uplifting all at once.

Lois Lowry is one of our favourite authors. We’ve loved everything we’ve read of hers, especially Number the Stars, The Willoughbys, Bless This Mouse and Crow Call.

The books are linked to Book Depository—they have free postage anywhere in the world and great pricing—but Amazon might be cheaper for North American readers.