Discussion Questions for Wes Moore: Fork in the Road
1. This is a conversation about the life-giving help of other people amidst personal tragedy and systemic injustice. Whose life-raft of love are you hanging onto in this season?
2. Wes Moore wrote a powerful book called The Other Wes Moore about the inflection points in a person’s life that make or break their reality. What key decision changed the course of your destiny? Did you know it was going to be make or break? When did you discern its significance?
3. Both Kate and Wes have lived the limits of the American dream. Sometimes tomorrow is not brighter than today. Sometimes sacrifice now does not mean blessing later. Sometimes we do not pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. When have you experienced a halt to the hustle narrative?
4. Wes was struck by the disparity between celebration and castigation when on the same day he graced the front page of the paper for receiving a Rhodes Scholarship, a man with his same name was being implicated as a criminal. What questions does this comparison raise for you?
5. After Wes’s dad unjustly dies, his mom begins grappling with a life she didn’t choose. Have you known someone like Wes’s mom—second-guessing what she might have done differently, looking for grounding when everything is sinking?
6. “We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile.” So begins one of Wes’s favorite poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar. What mask are you wearing to cover your pain? Draw it or describe it using your five senses.
7. Wes distinguishes between sympathetic love and empathetic love. Sympathetic love feels bad for the other. Empathetic love feels with the other. Why does this difference make all the difference in our ability to alleviate the pain of another?
8. Life is a marriage between personal responsibility and societal responsibility. To illustrate his point, Wes tells the story of the other Wes’s mom not finishing college. How does this story sit with you? What strikes you? What breaks you? Which side of the marriage is hardest for you to honor?
9. Wes is the CEO of Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty forces in the nation. Doing that work he’s learned that you may not be able to fix people’s pain overnight but you can promise they won’t go through it alone. What is your fight? Whose pain are you committed to walking alongside?
10. This life is not about you, Wes says. It’s about us. Who is the us that changed your life? How will you thank them for loving you through the long haul?
Bonus: After listening to this week’s podcast, what part of Kate and Wes’s conversation resonated with you most? What insight will you carry with you?
Discussion Questions written by author, editor, and facilitator Erin S. Lane.