The Gardener: Discussion Questions

1.  Have you ever moved to a new place?  If so, how did you respond to the move?

2.  Establishing yourself in a new social group can be difficult.  If you had to do it, what would worry you?  How would you try to make friends?  What would you look for in people?

3.  Trust is a difficult issue.  How trusting are you?  What makes you trust people?  Do you look for warning signs?  If you do, what kind of signs do you look for?  Have you ever trusted anyone, only to find yourself betrayed?  Could you have prevented that pain?  How?

4.  It has been said that human beings should listen to their fear.  How do you feel about that?

5. Have you ever felt uncomfortable, only to find out that the feeling was justified?

6. Have you ever felt uncomfortable, only to find out that everything was fine?

7.  What made the difference in that set of experiences?

8.  Have you seen the ocean?  What was your first experience with the ocean like?

9.  Do you ever think about the fact that there is a whole world under the water that is completely different than the one we live in every day?

10.  There are other kinds of oceans, whole areas of life and reality that may hide new worlds of perception.  Can you see them in your life?

11.  What about accepting gifts from people you hardly know?  Or from people you do know, but who are outside your family?

12.  Have you ever been part of a group, but suddenly felt outside of it?

13.  Can young men and young women truly be friends without romantic entanglement?  Can grown men and women do it, for that matter?

14.  How much input should parents ask for from their kids when they make a big decision like moving the household?  Why?

15. Would you be willing to go out with someone you really don’t know?  If so, under what conditions?

16. At what point, when you begin to feel uncomfortable around someone should you get yourself out of a situation?  I taught my own kids that it’s okay to be rude under some conditions.  Do you agree?  Under what kind of conditions?  Have you ever found yourself in trouble because you were too nice to see or respond to pressure?

17.  What are some family traditions that really make your home feel like home?

18.  If there were a storm in your area and utilities went down, do you have supplies that would get you through that?  Would you know where to find them and how to use them?

19.  How do you feel about gardens?  Are you one of the lucky people who love to plant things and cultivate them?  Are you the kind of person who is not interested in the work, but loves looking at other people’s gardens?

20.  What things in life could a garden by symbolic of?  In your life, do you have gardeners who look after you?  Could it be a little dangerous, depending too much on the people who take care of you?  What if they were suddenly gone?

21.  In your family, do the parents interact well with the children?  Do they share interests?  When parents’ talents and hobbies are different than their children’s, how important is it that the parent adapt to the interests of the children?

22.  Do you have rules for yourself about movies and other media?  Is it important to have such rules?  What do you base yours on?  Do you live in a situation where you have to keep rules made FOR you?  How do you feel about that?  Do parents have the right to make rules for their kids?  How important is it that kids respect their parents’ rules?

23.  How important is it to listen to the recommendations of people who know more than you do?  How do you feel about the decision that Coach made to build his house when the community recommended against the location?

24. What kind of house is your own dream house?  Where would it be?  What kind of architecture?

25.  If you suspect something is unhealthy,  is it right for you to warn someone against it?  Should you warn them?  Under what conditions?  What could be the repercussions either way?

26.  When you are entering a new situation, how do you feel that it would be wise to ask people with experience what they think?

27.  Have you ever had a date turn bad?

28.  If you have been misused by someone, how much emotional responsibility should you take on for the situation?  Can you learn from what happened without feeling broken by it?  Can you learn even though something is not your fault?  Or if you have made a bad judgment and suffered because of it,  can you forgive yourself, learn and move on?

29.  If you know someone who has had a bad experience, can you remain loyal to that person and help them recover from it?  Or are you the kind of person who can’t handle the intensity?  Would you turn your back and walk away, or pretend not to know what is going on?  Would you do something to save that person?

30.In your area, are there traditions about asking people for dates, or for special dates?  What crazy things have you done to invite someone to a dance – or even to marry you?

31.  Do you think that “love” is important when kids are in high school?  Do you think you can have fun without introducing a sexual component to your friendships?  Can you see advantages to that, in terms of building deep relationships?