1. Individually, reflect on Tuesdays with Morrie. What are some examples within the movie of characters being individualistic (as opposed to being dependent)? How does the value of Individualism combine with the value of personal control? Cite examples from the movie.
2. What are some ways that you see the values of individualism and personal control shaping your own life or the lives of your parents/siblings/friends?
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3. After you discussed number one above in your small group, do you understand how the American cultural values can shape individuals’ lives?
If yes, what was one example from your group partners that was a good example?
If no, why not? What questions do you have?
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4. Close your eyes. Think of someone influential in your life. Now write down who you thought about and why you thought about that person.
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In what ways are Americans afraid of being dependent on others? Do you think that this is related to our value of independence and freedom? In what ways do you depend on other people? Does this bother you? Another great example of these values influencing us negatively is explored in this TED talk by Brene Brown. She speaks about vulnerability and our culture. We want to numb our feelings of vulnerability, but in doing so we also numb our feelings of connection to others and our sense of worthiness which allows us to feel love and happiness.
The feeling of individualism and independence that creates this lack of invulnerability may also detach us from feelings of gratitude that help contribute to our happiness.