Monday, June 21, 2010

Discussion Questions for :The Mailbox"

1. Lindsey is recently divorced. If you have been through a divorce and have kids, do you sympathize with her feelings as a newly single mom? If not, did seeing her character struggle affect how you view divorced women?

2. Lindsey struggles with her role as a mom, especially in light of the new dynamic of her family and her daughter’s transformation into a preteen. Campbell struggles with staying connected to his daughter from a distance. They each make efforts to connect with their children. Why do their efforts work or not work? Are they doing all they can as parents? Why is God’s grace so important to both of them?

3. At the beginning of the story, Campbell discovers his daughter has passed out at work. His mind goes down paths of worry even though he tries not to be irrational. Have you ever experienced that happening? How did you control your tendency to worry?

4. Lindsey’s daughter, Anna, says to her, “If Dad loves me like you say, he wouldn’t hurt me like this. I don’t think that he really loves any of us. I think that he loves himself and doing what he wants is all that matters now. But that’s not what real love is. If he loved me, he wouldn’t make me feel this bad. ’Cause when you love someone, you care about how they feel too.” Why is this true of Grant, and what does it say about his character?

5. What are some of the things Lindsey learns to appreciate about her new life as a single mom while she is at the beach? How do these little realizations affect her perspective and influence her

6. Ellie shocks Campbell by telling him that he can take Nikki with him to Sunset Beach. Why does she allow him to? Is Campbell prepared to be a father to a teenage girl with issues? Does he think he is? Does Ellie?

7. Both Holly and Grant’s mother, Jane, encourage Lindsey to move on with her life. Do you think that encouragement has something to do with Lindsey’s decision to take Minerva up on her offer to walk by Campbell’s house? If you were Lindsey, would you have done what Minerva suggested?

8. Running is a great outlet for Lindsey. How does it help her heal? Is there a physical activity or hobby that helps you like that? If not, are you inspired to find one?

9. All Lindsey wanted her whole life was a hands-on, involved mom. How do you think that lack affects her mothering?

10. Lindsey and Campbell leave the crowded restaurant and end up at the pier. Why do you think they both agreed to do that?

11. The photographer Lindsey meets at the mailbox plays a role in both her and Campbell’s lives. Do you believe God puts people in our lives to accomplish His purposes? Have you ever had an encounter that could have been orchestrated only by God?

12. What do the red shoes symbolize to Campbell? What does it mean to him when Nikki decides to wear the flip-flops he buys her?

13. How would you describe Campbell’s journey as a father? As a child of God?

14. How would you describe Lindsey’s spiritual journey? What does she learn about herself by the end of the book?

15. Would you have been able to trust Campbell after you found the letters? Would you have been able to forgive him? Why does Lindsey?

16. Why does Lindsey make Grant leave? Was she right to do so? Did he deserve a second chance? Why, or why not?

17. Holly prays for Lindsey to see Grant and Campbell for who they really are. Was her prayer answered?

18. What do you think happens between Lindsey and her mom after the wedding? Was Lindsey right to stay and deal with her situation with Grant and Campbell, or should she have gone to her mother’s bedside?

19. Forgiveness and second chances are big themes in this story. The saying goes that unforgiveness is like eating poison while waiting for the other person to die. To whom do you need to ask forgiveness and a second chance? To whom do you need to offer your forgiveness?

20. Do you know who the Kindred Spirit is whom we see in the beginning and ending of the book? At what point in the story did you figure out her identity?

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