Vanier Is Know for Creating a Spiritual Book Report

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¶ … Vanier is know for creating a spiritual mission that ministers to people with mental disabilities, and he travels the world lecturing on the subject. This book is a look at his experiences, where he actually convinced people in institutions to come live with him and learn with him, and what those experiences led to in their lives and his own life.

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The book had many things to say to me, and to others reading the book. Vanier's basic premise is that we are not really "human" as we relate to others in the real world, and to become human, you must relate to others in a more personal and understanding way. He writes, "In my early adulthood, I had developed my intellectual and rational capacities; living with people who had disabilities called me to develop my capacity to relate to others" (Vanier, 2003, p. 2). He also believes that spirituality and humanness are dependent on one another, that you cannot really have one without the other. I totally agree with this premise, and I agree that society must become more open and understanding, and accepting of others. Today, in our society, we often "claim" to be more open, but in reality, anyone that is "different" in any way is the subject of ridicule. People who are intellectually challenged, overweight, look geeky, or are too tall, too short, or anything out of the norm, are teased, ridiculed, and mocked, and it happens everywhere, not just the schoolyard or the campus. People do not accept change or difference, for the most part, and that is why we need to become more "human," just as the author notes. I think he makes extremely valid points, and wish that we could create a society that was more open, understanding, and kind, rather than a society that is so judgmental and non-accepting of people that are different.

TOPIC: Book Report on Vanier Is Know for Creating a Spiritual Assignment

I think that the author talks about the aging process mostly in a positive manner, and that we can enjoy old age if we live it wisely. He writes, "Wisdom often comes with age, as long as we accept to fully live our old age" (Vanier, 2003, p. 131). He talks about age being a time of freedom and no regret, and I totally agree with that, too. He also notes the loneliness of old age that comes from feelings of no longer being useful or productive. I think that our society does not really respect old age as much as many other societies do, and that we are weaker as a result. We do not take the time to learn from our ancestors and find out more about them, until it is too late. I think that we need to be more respectful and interested in older adults, because they have a lot of wisdom to share with us.

The aging process seems scary, but Vanier makes it sound much more pleasant and memorable. I think that after reading this book, the process is not quite so frightening, if we live right, it should be enjoyable and something to look forward to rather than dread with apprehension. His entire message of the book is not based on aging; it is actually based on learning how to become more accepting and open, especially to people that are different, but people tend to treat the aging as they treat someone with disabilities. They are different, and so they are not as "acceptable" in society. Because they are different, they have little to offer, and Vanier shows this really is not the case. Essentially, they have much more to offer, because in their simplicity, they offer great wisdom. They also offer acceptance. He talks about how peaceful most people with disabilities feel, and that they seem at peace with themselves, even though they are imperfect. I think we can all learn from that, and from his experiences. None of us is perfect, but few of us are at peace with these imperfections. We could learn a lot from this book and his experiences, and we could radically change our society if we actually put his practices and teachings into use.

In reality, I would hope that the message of the book does lead to changes in my lifestyle. I would hope that I would become more open and accepting of others, especially those who are different or outside mainstream society in some way. We are all people on the inside, with the same fears, hopes, and desires. We are all "broken," too, as Vanier notes. He says, "All of us carry within ourselves brokenness, as well as shadow areas, dark corners of the spirit where uncomfortable things are hidden. Human beings cannot be constantly attentive, loving and nonviolent" (Vanier, 2003, p. 30). I know this is true, and it makes me sad somehow, because I would like to believe we are better than that. However, I think that being more accepting and open could make me a better person and look at things differently.

I would hope that the book will help me develop a better lifestyle, and that it will not fade away as the message of the book becomes fainter in my life. I think that a main message in the book that is extremely profound, and could make a great difference in many people's lives, including my own, is his message of forgiveness. He writes, "In this chapter, I want to talk about finding freedom from those inner hurts that govern our behaviour and make us act inhumanely toward others" (Vanier, 2003, p. 135). This is an extremely powerful weapon, because many people carry their hurts around with them for ages, and allow them to eat away at them. Forgiveness is really freedom, like the author says, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. It is difficult to forgive in many cases, but it really is the path to true spiritual freedom, and I would hope that after reading this book, I will become more forgiving, something that is sometimes very hard for me to do. The message here is not only spiritual, it is common sense, too, and that made reading this book much more interesting and influential. It was not too "preachy," and I liked that about the book. He writes it almost as if he is talking to a friend, which makes it easier to read, too.

I was not disappointed with the content at all. In fact, I found it very uplifting and common sense. It was not difficult to read, so it seemed to take little time to get through it, and the author made good points that I agreed with for the most part. This would be a hard book to really be disappointed in, because it paints such a positive picture for "becoming human." It might be hard to admit that we are not human, but after reading this book and reflecting on my own experiences, it is true, most of us are not human at all. The steps Vanier recommends are basically simple, they range from belonging to forgiveness, and he gives the reader the tools to experience their own humanness. It is a powerful book that can transform lives, and it would be difficult to be disappointed with anything that powerful.

In fact, I would recommend this book to others, especially those in my family and to my friends, and I will keep a copy on my bookshelf, because I think I would like to read this again and again throughout my life. Its' messages are simple, but the rewards for putting them in practice are great, and I would like to keep this around to remind of that, especially during difficult or trying times. The content was somewhat difficult to read when he talked about some of the severe disabilities that some of the people who lived in the d'Arche homes faced, and how it affected their families, but he always had a message of hope and acceptance, which made the situations easier to face. It is clear he is a spiritual man, and that this spirituality guided him throughout his life, but he does not shove that on the reader, so the content is much mellower and effective than it could have been. The messages are simple, but the ideas are weighty, which is why this book is so meaningful, and the message is so enduring. I really feel strongly about this book and what it says about humanity, and why we reject others without really knowing them, and it made me think about my own life and how I can change that. It is hard to be disappointed with content like that.

I'm not sure that I was "hoping" to find anything in this book, so I really did not hope to find anything that was not in the book. I had no expectations for the book, to be honest, it was just another assignment. However, after reading the book and thinking about its'… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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