Charity's Reviews > Gifts

Gifts by Ursula K. Le Guin
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Gifts is a coming of age story about the gifts our parents give us and what we choose to do with them.

It says something about my stage in life that I relate less to the main characters, the children in this story, than I do to their parents. When we give someone a gift, we can hope they use it the way we choose, we can hope they appreciate it as we'd like them to, but in the end, it's theirs to do with as they choose. We give it away and it belongs to them.

I offer my children what I can, and they make of that what makes sense to them, even if it doesn't make sense to me. I think about the teenagers---my children's generation---demonstrating for safety from gun violence. I think about my generation, Generation X and Millennials---I'm not convinced that there should be as distinct a division between those groups as some would like to imagine---and how those older than us have chosen to criticize our use of what they've passed on to us, of how resistant they are even to let us have these gifts as our own. When we try to assert our adulthood and our right to use those gifts, they seek to discredit us by treating us like disobedient children. (The image that comes to my mind is of the second debate of the 2008 presidential campaign when John McCain gestured towards Barack Obama and referred to him as "that one.")

Maybe that's the way of every older generation, maybe it's the way of parents to want to hold on to the illusion of control over their children and to forget how fervently they themselves wanted the freedom to be separate from their own parents, to see what they could do in the world. "Do as I say, not as I do." Maybe that's the nature of parents, but I hope it's something my generation of parents can set aside.

I hope, at least for myself, that I can let my children make the gifts I give them their own, to feel their own sense of power and beauty and wholeness, whether I can make sense of it or not.
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Reading Progress

April 17, 2018 – Started Reading
April 17, 2018 – Shelved
April 17, 2018 – Shelved as: ya
April 26, 2018 – Finished Reading

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