Talk to your kids about…
The Community focuses on what is best for the many, even if that means sacrificing what is best for the few. What are the pros and cons of that philosophy? Can you think of any other ways to achieve harmony and peace?
One of the Elders states, “When people have the power to choose, they choose wrong.” Do you agree with her observation? Are all of the people in The Community unable to make choices? Or are some of them empowered to make decisions, not only for themselves, but also for others? How does the government of The Community compare with some real life philosophies for governing counties, organizations or families?
The Elders of The Community act like the gods of their world. Are they being benevolent by protecting the many citizens from the harm that could be caused by the few? Or does their control prevent the people from really living? How might the scenario presented in this story answer a question sometimes asked by people in the real word: “If there is a God, why does he let bad things happen to good people?”
Is it possible to understand joy if you don’t also understand pain? What other emotions or experiences require us to be familiar with their opposite sides in order to be really appreciated? Would being protected from negative things help or hamper your decision-making?
The Giver tells Jonas that because the people don’t understand some things, they aren’t responsible for their actions. Do you agree? How are knowledge and accountability connected? Can ignorance always be used as an excuse?