Last week, former President Jimmy Carter announced that he has cancer. While Carter’s prognosis is unclear, he has revealed that cancer has spread to other parts of his body. His family has had a long history of pancreatic cancer and the 39th president lost his father, brother, and both sisters to the disease. His mother also developed breast cancer that moved to her pancreas.
Carter is an extremely revered figure and his post-presidential life has been very active. He teaches Sunday school, is a faculty member at Emory University, and is heavily involved with the Carter Center, the nonprofit organization he founded to protect human rights.
Carter released a memoir earlier this year, entitled “A Full Life.” And in late July the former president was the subject of CBS’s “Note to Self” series where he shares a personal letter with his 12-year-old self. He gives a young Carter advice that ranges from challenging social norms to forming close bonds with others and never giving up. Perhaps the most compelling line of the entire letter is the final one, especially in light of recent news: “You’ll face many challenges throughout your life, but don’t worry. So many people will want to help you along the way.”
This line is epitomized by the outpouring of well wishes and support that Carter has received from people like the First Family, Joe Biden, Larry King, and many more. Use these discussion questions to talk about the best advice you’ve received and how you deal with hardships:
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? How has the advice helped you?
If you could give your 12-year-old self one message, what would it be?
When have you struggled with illness personally or seen a close friend/family member struggle?
Where do you find strength during these times? How do you address any anger of doubts you might have about God’s presence during these challenging times?
- What are some ways that you can reach out and offer comfort to someone who is dealing with an illness?