Sick is Relative

I’ve been sick for the past few days (sigh, moan, complain), and it’s given me time to lie in bed and think. And one of the thoughts that’s kept repeating in my head is the concept that feelings are all relative. That how I feel when I’m sick might be entirely different than how someone else feels.

In other words, maybe at my most sickest, when I feel absolutely horrible. that’s what someone else feels as “mild discomfort.” I just don’t know, right?The same is true for pain. We all have different tolerances for pain, but maybe that’s also because we all perceive it differently.

From there, you can move on to just about any feeling you’d like to talk about. Love. Fear. Anxiety. Hate. They’re intangible things, and so there’s no real way to know if the thing we’re feeling matches up evenly to what other people are feeling.

I remember when I was in high school, I was in a Dixie Band. We’d go around and play at a lot of senior citizen centers. It was a fun group, and I really enjoyed it. But there were a lot of us, and some of those rooms weren’t large. You get saxes, clarinets, tubas, trumpets, trombones, and more into a small room, and it’s going to be loud. The elderly people didn’t mind: they just turned their hearing aids down. For them, even sound was relative.

So there you have it. My deep thought for the day. How sick am I feeling? Yesterday was “rotten.” Today I’d say “pretty bad.” But what does that mean to you? I have no idea.

Here’s hoping I feel “better” tomorrow . . .

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.



What Do You Normally Eat for Breakfast?

I was watching the first season of The Americans last night, and there was a typical “family at home before school” scene, with the whole fam there, Mom making pancakes while Dad read the paper and watched the news. I didn’t think much of it at first (just your average setting for breakfast), but then I suddenly thought to compare it with my experience with breakfast over the years, and it really didn’t line up for me at all.

Have I had big breakfasts before? You bet. But my breakfast baseline has almost always been a bowl of cereal with milk. Sure, now it’s raw oatmeal with milk, but it’s essentially the same thing. Pancakes or french toast or bacon or eggs? That’s the sort of thing I get at a hotel buffet, maybe, or that we have every now and then when we actually all have time in the morning.

Come to think of it, the “family all around while they eat breakfast together” portrayal also doesn’t line up. Tomas leaves the house at 6:05. I leave at 6:35. DC and MC leave at 8:30. Denisa leaves after them. We all get up at different times and run on different routines in the morning.

Is this just me, or have I been lied to by television series for all these years? I don’t really miss having a warm breakfast every morning with the family gathered ’round, but maybe that’s just because I’ve never had it as an expectation. I’m going to post a poll on Facebook and try to get to the bottom of this, once and for all . . .

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

A New Desk

I started working at the University of Maine at Farmington in 2007. At the time, I was down on the main floor of the library, working as the Information Technology Librarian. After a year and a half or so, I moved up to the third floor when I became Library Information Services Manager. That lasted for a few years, but then four years ago or so I moved back to my original office and desk, to be closer to the action.

I’m still in that office, but today I upgraded my desk to a bigger one, and it feels lovely. By old one was all of five feet wide, tops. It was pretty cramped, and in a spot of my office that made it so I was always watching/noticing everyone passing by my office outside. Not that I’m not trying to be friendly, but that can get pretty distracting after a while.

With my new configuration, I have an L shaped desk with about 12 feet of desk space, give or take. I’m still facing the door, but angled so that I don’t see everyone passing by. It’s already helped me to feel able to focus more, and that’s great.

Another nice perk? When I moved everything from one desk to the other, it was a great chance to jettison a whole bunch of Stuff that had accumulated in my old desk over the years. It was kind of like moving houses, only on a much smaller scale. I do think I’m getting better at letting go of stuff and not being a packrat as much as I used to be, but it’s still something that takes effort for me to do.

Ideally I’d like to trim down on more stuff at home as well, but that’s a process that will take me a fair bit longer. Many of the problems in a home come down to not being able to take sole ownership over the stuff. While I personally might not want item X, that’s not a guarantee someone else in the family doesn’t want it. So it’s almost as if you have to go through things as a committee to get rid of them.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Just that it can’t be done as easily as I just moved desks.

Anyway, if you swing by the library, you’ll no longer see me at my desk, noticing everyone walking by. But I’m still here, and if my door is open, feel free to pop in!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Learning to Serve

I spoke in Waterville yesterday. This month the topic was on service. I focused on a question I’ve had around service for quite some time: when is it appropriate, and inappropriate, to serve? I know the easy answer is “you should never turn down an opportunity to serve.” But there are times when you just don’t have time, or the request is manipulative. For me, it’s a complex question, and I’m not sure I really reached an answer, but I tried. I was happy with how the talk turned out.

Here’s the full text from yesterday:

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When it comes to service, perhaps the single best known contribution I made to the discussion in the Farmington ward was to create the infamous Ward Moving Project Contract when I was the Elders Quorum President. This would have been about nine years ago. I’d already been living in the ward for a few years before I received that calling, and I’d been in the presidency for a year or so during that time. Over the course of my time in the presidency, I had seen a pattern develop for most service projects the Elders Quorum was asked to perform.

The approach to service has changed a fair bit in between then and now, but at the time, the Elders Quorum was often looked at as the go-to muscle to do any job a member of the ward wanted help with. Whether it was wood projects, cleaning out a house, or moving someone into or out of the ward, we were always just a phone call away. Let me state right away that I have nothing against helping members out in times of need. There have certainly been times I have been in a real bind, and church members have shown up to provide me with some much needed assistance.

And yet as I went to some of those service projects, I observed a few troubling trends that some–not all–of the projects involved. First of all, they were often last minute affairs, called at the spur of the moment, even though they were projects that could have been anticipated long in advance. Hardly anyone finds out they need to move less than a week before that move needs to take place, for example, and it’s not as if the fact that anyone running a wood stove will need firewood to stay warm over the winter should come as a shock to anyone. Members of the Elders Quorum can be busy with their regular lives. It was difficult to throw together a project at the last minute and have it be well organized and attended.

Additionally, I would see some of the people we were serving take little care for actually participating in the project themselves. Able bodied men and boys sitting inside while the quorum was outside hauling wood. Or we’d arrive to a moving project to find nothing boxed and ready to go. I don’t want to cast aspersions on any one project in particular. I’m sure there could be extenuating circumstances for any one of them. But taken as a whole, they presented a worrisome trend.

Enter the Ward Moving Project Contract. Because I’m a bit of an electronic packrat, I still have a copy hanging out in my email. Some of the elements of the document were very practical. It asked people to identify the size of the home being moved, as well as any specialty items (like pianos or washing machines). But it also had some pretty strict guidelines, asking people to give at least two weeks’ notice for a move, provide water for anyone during the move, box everything before the project began, and obtain all necessary moving trucks and equipment ahead of time. One of its last bullets noted, “Any deviation from these guidelines must be discussed in advance and approved by the Elders Quorum President. If these guidelines are not suitable, we encourage the family to find alternate means to move themselves. If these guidelines are violated, we will leave.”

I played for keeps with that contract. Let’s just say It didn’t exactly go over well with everyone who saw it. The most oft repeated criticism of it was that it was big on commitments and light on Christlike service. After all, Christ didn’t make the ten lepers sign a waiver before He healed them, and no long disclaimer was handed out before the miracle of the loaves and the fishes.

Yet this is an issue that continues to resound with me. Where is the line between unselfish service and borderline indentured servitude? Some of the difficulty stems from the fact that different church members can have very different ideas about when it’s appropriate to ask for help from other members, and when it isn’t. I’ve heard some complain (back when we were still doing the home teaching program) that their home teachers wouldn’t come for all their requests. But then I heard requests for service ranging from yard work to roof shoveling to house cleaning–basically things that many people consider actual jobs. Believe me, I understand that it’s cheaper if you can get a church member or a missionary to come do something for free instead of hiring it done, but is it appropriate?

The answer to that question is going to vary from member to member, which is fine, I suppose, until it isn’t. Until a member who thinks it’s appropriate to ask for help clearing their property of poison ivy asks someone who thinks that’s a step too far. Either the member who’s been asked will refuse, leaving the requestor feeling spurned, or they’ll agree, and resent the extra unnecessary help they’re giving.

Obviously, a large part of this predicament can be avoided by both parties being understanding and Christlike in their dealings with each other. But beyond that, I have always been taught there’s a hierarchy in the way we ask for help solving a problem. First, we should all strive to be self-sufficient. If there’s something we can solve on our own, we should do so. Second, we should turn to our family for assistance. If there remains a task we can’t handle, then it’s appropriate to turn to the church. True, that hierarchy is generally used when someone’s looking for financial assistance from the church, but I think it applies to other types of assistance as well.

For me, one of the best acts of service I’ve ever received in the church occurred when I wasn’t even in the state. I was down in Boston, as I recall, when my wife called me, frantic. The basement was flooding. The sump pump had failed, and water was pouring in from the crawl space. I was far away, unable to assess the situation. I suggested she call our home teachers, and they came within the half hour. The cleaned the sump pump, got things working again, and a crisis was avoided.

Another example that comes to mind are the times I’ve called friends and home teachers to come give a blessing to me or a family member. I’ve been so grateful for people who are willing to step in and help me when I’ve had no way of helping myself.

As I’ve thought about service, then, I’ve looked at these examples to try and find what made them feel different from the times when my own efforts have felt unnecessary or unappreciated. First off, they involved emergencies. These were times when I needed help right then, and I had no idea I’d need help ahead of time. Second, they were things I was unable to do on my own, whether because I lacked the knowledge or experience or because I wasn’t physically present to pitch in. Third, they were times the person involved contributed with no thought or hope of recompense. They were just being nice to be nice. More on that in a moment.

My wife and I have been trying to instill a strong work ethic in our children, and that’s a task that’s proven much more difficult than I would have hoped. I don’t think it’s because my children are particularly rebellious or lazy. I actually think they’re pretty great. But rather, I think we all have a need to overcome the natural man, and the natural man in my house seems to have a real taste for long sessions of Fortnite games and My Little Pony marathons.

Over the years, we’ve tried various programs and approaches to household chores. We’ve had goal sheets, sticker charts, rewards, penalties, Family Home Evening discussions, and more. In the end, the thing that’s worked the best for us has been the development of the Chore Chart, a grid we print off each week that has various chore assignments that change from week to week. Video games and screen time aren’t unlocked each day until those chores are finished.

It’s worked for the most part, as each of our three children have faced the grim reality that my wife and I aren’t kidding about getting those chores done. But one area where it’s failed has been in the building of any sort of a sense of family unity and service around the home. Instead, I see my children often check off the stuff they have to do and completely ignore anything that isn’t on their slate that week. In my ideal world, we’d all be pitching in for each other as everyone’s needs and responsibilities change from week to week.

When I was halfway through my undergraduate degree, I learned firsthand a simple principle: when I choose to do something, I have a whole lot more fun doing it than when I am forced to do it by outside influences. In school, this meant I would try to get ahead of my homework and reading by at least a few days, so I was no longer doing it because I had to do it, but because I wanted to get it done. I know that might not seem like an insignificant difference to many of you, but it made all the difference in the world to me. Suddenly, how I spent my time was up to me. Yes, I could sit around and play video games if I wanted. No professor would have gotten mad at me or been disappointed. I was ahead of my obligations, after all. But I could also spend some time to stay ahead of the curve and keep that feeling of being on top of things with me. It’s a heady sensation, if you’ve never had it before. One that’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to recapture as my obligations multiply over the years.

The same principle applies to service, I think. When you do something because you’ve chosen to do it, it’s much less likely to feel like a burden or an imposition. Go grudgingly, and chances are you’ll resent what you’re asked to do.

In the seventh chapter of Moroni, Mormon talks about the importance of intentions and their relation to our actions.

6 For behold, God hath said a man being aevil cannot do that which is good; for if he boffereth a gift, or cprayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real dintent it profiteth him nothing.

7 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.

8 For behold, if a man being aevil giveth a gift, he doeth it bgrudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.

9 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with areal intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.

Cristina B. Franco, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, put it like this: “it will not matter if we sat in the comfy seats or if we struggled to get through the meeting on a rusty folding chair in the back row. It won’t even matter if we, of necessity, stepped into a foyer to comfort a crying baby. What will matter is that we came with a desire to serve, that we noticed those to whom we minister and greeted them joyfully, and that we introduced ourselves to those sharing our row of folding chairs—reaching out with friendship even though we aren’t assigned to minister to them. And it will certainly matter that we do all that we do with the special ingredient of service coupled with love and sacrifice. In the end, it’s the motivation we do our service that matters.”

So there we have it. All we need to make sure we are approaching service right is to be joyful about it. We need to be authentically good. Fantastic. Wait a minute. How do we do that?

Back in July, I injured my shoulder playing tennis. It’s been bugging me ever since. Not a severe pain most of the time, but enough to remind me it’s there. A constant discomfort marked now and then by more intense pain. I debated going to get it looked at, but as the months went by and it didn’t improve, I finally decided enough was enough. It turns out the injury was more serious than I was trying to pretend (surprise surprise), and I’ve been going to physical therapy now for the past few months.

What I wanted to get out of physical therapy was simple. A few key exercises I could do every day that would magically make my shoulder feel better. But after the initial exam, the therapist told me one of the things I really needed to improve was my posture. It turns out my shoulders are rolled way too far forward. The muscles that are supposed to be there keeping everything tight and in place aren’t developed enough. Because of that, whenever I move, I’m exacerbating the problem. This is something a younger body was able to get away with, but as my body gets older, it isn’t as resilient as it used to be.

My therapist showed me where my shoulders were supposed to be, manhandling them back into a painful position. I stared at him, thinking he had to be joking. “How in the world am I supposed to keep them there all the time?” I asked.

He told me those muscles are actually indefatigable, a fun word to say which means they aren’t ever supposed to get tired. They’re built for long term endurance. Except mine have been on a permanent vacation. “You get them into shape the same way you train for a marathon,” he told me. “Bit by bit over time, with concerted effort and attention. It won’t happen overnight, but if you keep at it, it’ll eventually improve.”

I think that’s the same way we become authentically good. It’s not something that’s going to happen in a day. We won’t be asked to perform service and magically find ourselves excited and ready to help. “19 For the anatural bman is an cenemy to God, and has been from the dfall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he eyields to the enticings of the fHoly Spirit, and gputteth off the hnatural man and becometh a isaint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a jchild, ksubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”

Satan’s goal is for us to skip that process. For us to think about it and decide it’s just too hard. He’d much rather we slouched through life instead of standing tall and doing what God has asked. To persuade us away from the right path, he puts up as many false obstacles as he can. He’d have us think of service strictly as the most uncomfortable, unwanted activities we can imagine. But I think that most of us actually do far more service than we’re aware.

First of all, remember that service to your friends and family counts just as much as service to strangers. Not if you’re just doing it so that your friends and family will do things for you, but if you’re generally trying to help someone other than yourself, congratulations. You’re serving.

President Dallin H. Oaks taught: “Our Savior gave Himself in unselfish service. He taught that each of us should follow Him by denying ourselves of selfish interests in order to serve others. A familiar example of losing ourselves in the service of others … is the sacrifice parents make for their children. Mothers suffer pain and loss of personal priorities and comforts to bear and rear each child. Fathers adjust their lives and priorities to support a family… We also rejoice in those who care for disabled family members and aged parents. None of this service asks, what’s in it for me? All of it requires setting aside personal convenience for unselfish service. …[And] all of this illustrates the eternal principle that we are happier and more fulfilled when we act and serve for what we give, not for what we get. Our Savior teaches us to follow Him by making the sacrifices necessary to lose ourselves in unselfish service to others.”

For whatever reason, service to family can sometimes feel like baseline service. It’s taken for granted as something we’re supposed to do anyway, perhaps, and so it doesn’t count as real service. And yet it should very much count all the time. Unselfish service doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Much of the initial phases of learning to serve joyfully and unselfishly are learned through service in the home. Being part of a family provides us with so many opportunities to forget ourselves and help others.

In some ways, I worry the chore chart my wife and I made for our children is teaching the value of hard work, but at the expense of selfless service. After all, a family can’t function if every person in it is only worried about the things he or she has to get done each day. There will be times I’m busier than everyone else, and times that everyone else is busier than I am. I should pitch in to help where I can instead of simply stopping at the boundaries of what’s been assigned to me.

I’m still not quite certain how to go about helping that trait to grow in my family, and it’s caused me to reflect on how I’ve helped it grow in myself. We all have weaknesses, and I think that’s still one area I need to work on personally. I’ve found the best way to become better at anything is through practice, and so I’m trying to take more time to do nice things for others in my family without being asked. Ideally, I do it without being acknowledged, either–and that’s a tricky spot for me.

It’s not just that I don’t like feeling like I’m not appreciated. When I clean the bathroom or do the dishes for one of my kids, I want them to recognize that I pitched in and helped out. I want my children to realize they had responsibilities and someone helped them  After all, step one is realizing they have obligations of their own to fulfill.

As I wrote this talk, I came to a greater understanding of the way I learned how to serve others. It happens in stages. The first stage is recognizing you have things you need to do for yourself. Things you want to improve. Goals you want to meet. Until you can start wanting to improve yourself, moving on to the next step is impossible.

Sister Franco notes a problem with this of course. “We live in a selfish world where people constantly ask, “What’s in it for me?” instead of asking, “Whom can I help today?” or “How can I better serve the Lord in my calling?” or “Am I giving my all to the Lord?” But I think it’s important to realize that even developing just a love of yourself is still a way to develop and understand love. If you stop there, you’ve done almost no one but yourself any good, though.

The next step is to recognize that the love you feel for yourself is something others feel for themselves as well. That we all have our own goals and desires, and that the odds of us reaching those goals are slim as long as we’re on our own. It’s easiest to recognize this in people you already care for or regularly interact with. “Perhaps,” you say to yourself, “if I were to help my mother with that chore, she’d be more likely to want to help me get the thing I want.” It’s still mostly a selfish desire, but you are at least beginning to move your attention elsewhere, if only to get the things you want more quickly.

But once that realization that other people have desires and goals moves from being “this is a way I can manipulate people into helping and liking me” and over to a “what would it feel like if someone were to help me without being asked?” we can really begin to progress. Often that transition only occurs when we see the example of other people. In my experience, sometimes it takes multiple instances before someone begins to actually sit up and take notice. That happens with many things, like when you learn a new word for the first time, and you swear no one has ever used that word in front of you before. Except from the moment you learn it, you discover multiple people using the word around you from then on.

I have to remind myself that my children are learning line upon line, just as I am. At times it might feel important to point out to them that I did something nice for them without being asked, but the more I think about it, the more I worry that sets the exact wrong example I’m trying to portray. The moment you bring up the fact that you did something nice for them, you can no longer really say you were doing it for no other reason than to be nice. Because you clearly were doing it to teach them a lesson. And after all, if that’s really why I was doing it, then could I truly say I was doing it for no reason?

It’s a paradox, I suppose. Perhaps the best solution is to tuck my head down and serve where I can. Sister Franco asks, “Are we sacrificing of our time and talents so the rising generation can learn to love the Lord and keep His commandments? Are we ministering both to those around us and to those we are assigned with care and with diligence—sacrificing time and energy that could be used in other ways? Are we living the two great commandments—to love God and to love His children? Often that love is manifest as service.”

Up until now, I’ve often worried about overextending myself. King Benjamin notes that everything should be “done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength.” That’s a phrase I’ve found myself using a lot over the years, and I definitely still believe it. But I’m also beginning to think perhaps focusing on that one principle too much closes me off from the chance to develop in other ways.

Sooner or later, we all need to forget ourselves and serve others. I clearly do not have that process figured out yet. I know how it can and should work in a family, even if I haven’t been able to master even that. I’m uncertain how it ultimately can work in a community, a ward, or a stake, but I’m working on becoming better.

One last thought I’d like to share on the subject comes from CS Lewis. In his book, The Screwtape Letters, Lewis writes from the point of view of a demon trying to tempt a man to be evil and fall away from God. That demon observes, “Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury…. Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him.   It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend’s talkative wife (turning up when he looked forward to a tête-a -tête with the friend), that throw him out of gear. Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright.”

I know this is one of my weaknesses. I schedule my days and weeks out to what some might say is an absurd degree. When something crops up that spoils that schedule, it can really throw me for a loop. Requests for unselfish service are often the culprit. I need to do a better job releasing the concept that my time is my own. Perhaps some of you can relate.

Wherever you might find yourself on that path, I encourage you to strive to keep moving. Love God, and love His children, and do things for others that they cannot or have not yet done for themselves. I believe that as we do this, we come closer to becoming what God knows we can become, and we can ultimately find joy in unselfish service.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

A New Tolkien Super Fan

Over the holiday break, I had one main goal: watch the entirety of the extended editions of both Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. (What can I say? My wants in life are simple.) I watched them in what I feel is the best order: Hobbit first, followed by Lord of the Rings.

(A quick aside here. I realize the Hobbit trilogy got a fair bit of hate from the geek community, and rewatching them just barely, I feel like this hate is unearned. Are they as good as LOTR? No. But not everything can be “Only Fantasy Movie to Ever Win Best Picture” good. That’s okay. People criticized it for having an Elf/Dwarf romance, though LOTR is full of an Elf/Human romance and we’re all cool with it. Yes, I realize one was “canon” and the other wasn’t, and I realize many of the gripes with Hobbit come down to it exploding a simple child’s book into an epic trilogy o’warfare. But I believe if you look at it as a prequel to LOTR and not as just a Hobbit adaptation, it works wonderfully. And if you watch it first as a lead up to LOTR, it all meshes together great. I love all six movies. Period.)

This time through, I let my older two kids watch the movies. Tomas is 14, so it was a no-brainer to let him watch, but DC is just 10, and I debated some before giving her the green light. (She’s watched plenty of Marvel movies, so it wasn’t much of a debate, but still.) Both of them enjoyed the movies, but I was really surprised to see who ended up loving them the most.

DC became a huge Tolkien fan the moment she saw the Elves. She’s started writing stories about dwarves and elves. She’s learning how to write the Tengwar alphabet. She’s halfway through listening to Fellowship on audio. (She says it’s the best thing she’s ever read, including Percy Jackson, her previous favorite.) She asked if we could watch all the “making of” documentaries, and she’s enjoying all of them.

She’s a big, big fan.

It’s been fun watching her catch fire for the series, and great that there’s so much for her to dive into. She’s working on learning Elvish grammar even. I’m not sure if this fire will continue to burn, but seeing as how we have 6 movies’ worth of special features to get through, I imagine it’ll last at least a few more months.

Everyone needs to find the things they love on their own. Some things I’ve trotted out for my kids and been a bit sad when they didn’t love them as much as I did. But every now and then, you have your kids end up loving stuff even more than you do.

And that’s a great feeling, speaking as a librarian. I think a lot of us got into the business because we like connecting people with things that are perfect for them, whether it’s information, books, movies, or music. With DC and LOTR, I hit a home run.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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