Redeeming the Athlete










I married at 23 and had no idea how to keep house or cook meals. Some women make it look so easy but for me it seemed like a never ending juggling act with more balls on the floor than in the air. I grew up as an athlete and scholar. I felt accomplished with a ball or a textbook in my hand but a mop, broom and laundry basket left me fumbling at the goal line. I felt like a failure and that surely I wasn’t cut out for this kind of work. I considered a full time maid, chef and nanny but alas, I was poor. Thankfully a generous organized, administrative type friend took me on as a project.

Twenty-six years later my friends actually mistake me for an organized administrator type.

* Laughing and Happy*

Why was my friend able to make a difference?

1. I wanted to take care of my home and family.

2. I was convinced I needed  help.

3. I was willing to learn.

4. I was willing to work hard.

I facilitate classical literature clubs and the statement made to me most frequently is, “I don’t think I could ever lead a discussion.” My response is always, “Oh, yes you can. It’s not like science or math or even grammar. It’s less about getting the right answer and more about listening and discussing ideas.” This statement is usually met with a befuddled look and disbelief. If you want to lead a club and you feel hesitant, I want to encourge you.

First answer these questions:

Do you want to lead a discussion?

Are you willing to learn?

Are you willing to work at it?

If you answered yes to all three, you are on your way to your first book discussion. * SIMILE *

Second, realize that Literature Club discussions are about relationships and ideas.

A lot goes on at a book discussion other than talking about the book. We have a meal at out meetings and where there’s food, there’s conversation and fun. You know how to do this. right? You have friends and you love fun. Well, books are about people too.

Use these questions to as you begin thinking about your discussion:

1. Which character do I relate to most? least? why?

2. Did a character do something I thought was wrong or out of desperation? Why did the character respond that way? What was going on in the story that made it necessary for this character to behave the way he did?

3. The author has a goal in mind other than pure entertainment. Whether she is aware of all of her motives or not isn’t the point. She is human and her  heart comes out in her story. Her characters behave certain ways in order to accomplish these goals. Get inside her head and guess about what she believes or how she wants her characters to affect you. Unless she’s your friend or a guest speaker at your meeting, you won’t know her thoughts for sure but its really fun to examine her point of view. Along the way, you’ll discover you are actually unfolding the plot and theme of the book. There are other skills you can  learn but developing your answers to these questions is actually enough to get you started.

And you thought you couldn’t lead a discussion.  *WINK *

I was an athlete and scholar, not a house keeper but my friend invested her time and energy for me and I learned the skills. I’m oh so not as gifted as those of you who were born to organize the world but I’m doing okay. You can learn how to lead a book discussion and do a great job. I’m here to help and it will be my pleasure to see you thrive in this endeavor.

If you would like to learn more about leading discussions please leave  your comments so I’ll know to spend time writing about this subject.

Living Outside the Lines

strengthens her friend and helps her succeed.

Are you in a book club?

Do you want to start a book club?

What do you want to know about book clubs?

How do you choose discussion topics?

Share THE Story,

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.


  1. I love your before and after pics…too cute!

    Considering the topic of this post, I thought you might get a kick out of my HH blog.


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