Discussion Questions for Justin Yopp and Don Rosenstein: The Magic of WE
1. Kate begins the podcast by naming how loss isn’t just about the past but the present and future, too. What loss—however big or small—is present to you today?
2. When Doctors Justin Yopp and Don Rosenstein reflect on what they’ve learned through caring for cancer patients, Don says, “The most important part of this work is understanding who is going through what they’re going through.” What do you think Don means by this? And how do you do it, i.e. discover the particular person behind a diagnosis?
3. When a series of young moms died, Justin and Don wanted to refer their widows to a grief support group, but there was none. So they started a group of their own. When have you had to become the support you were seeking? What did you notice was missing? What was it you “couldn’t not do” in response?
4. Don and Justin had a plan for how their first grief group would go before realizing that the fathers didn’t need a couple of shrinks as much as they needed each other. Who have been your best teachers in the circle of grief?
5. Each of the fathers came into the group feeling alone and isolated in their grief. What they found was other men who really got what they were going through and could empathize and celebrate and encourage and joke with them like nobody else could. Have you ever had the experience of moving from isolation to belonging? What was it about the group’s “groupness” that worked for you?
6. Out of this experiment, Justin and Don co-founded the Widowed Parent Project to help surviving parents who are oscillating between the two stressors of grief: missing the life they had and dealing with the life they have now. What about this dual process model rings true for you?
7. Don thinks you can lose something you never had.You can lose your imagined future or how you thought life would unfold. What imagined future are you grieving? What does it look like to do the hard work of charting a new path, knowing it’s not guaranteed?
8. “Getting up is easy. Getting back up is hard,” Kate says as she reflects on the courage of people who have felt themselves bleeding out. Who do you see this kind of courage in it? What’s it like being around that kind of person?
9. Justin and Don are champions of the “good enough father” or the research that shows that perfect parenting is neither positive or desirable. Healthy children need to grow up with the ability to tolerate hard things. Whether parent or not, what beautiful things might come if you lowered the bar for yourself?
10. We are losing things every day. But there is magic in togetherness: telling your story, being known, complaining about things that might be cliché. What’s one way you want to experience the magic of moving from “I” to “we” today?
Bonus: After listening to this week’s podcast, what part of Kate, Justin & Don’s conversation resonated with you most? What insight will you carry with you?
Discussion Questions written by author, editor, and facilitator Erin S. Lane.
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