This reading group guide forHappy, Happy, Happyincludes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Everyone who watches A&E’s Duck Dynasty knows Phil Robertson—the wise, duck-calling patriarch of the Robertson clan. But what you don’t know is about his life before the show, before Duck Commander, and before he was happy, happy, happy. Before the “happy,” Phil followed a wild road with a few detours down some dark paths. In the pages of Happy, Happy, Happy Phil reveals his views on life and shares his deep-held faith in God. You will be surprised and inspired by Phil’s stories as you get to know the man behind the legend.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Each chapter features a rule Phil lives his life by. What are some of your rules for living happy, happy, happy? If you do not have any rules, what are some rules that could make a positive impact on your life and/or family?
2. In the introduction Phil discusses functional vs. dysfunctional families. Television networks seem obsessed with rewarding dysfunctional behavior by highlighting it on reality shows. Why do American TV viewers enjoy such programs? Be honest, what are some of your favorite “train wreck” TV shows? Conversely, why is a show like Duck Dynasty—one that focuses on wholesome family values—so popular? Does America need more shows like it to combat the dysfunction? Discuss.
3. In chapter two Phil cautions about not letting kids grow up to be nerds. To him “nerd” has a negative connotation that invokes a person who is glued to their gadgets and stays indoors all day. Phil places value on practical knowledge, such as outdoors survival skills and hunting and neglects to discuss the values of other skill sets. What do you think about Phil’s view of “nerd”? Should children have a more balanced skill set that lets them enjoy and learn outdoors as well as in?
4. Phil calls women “strange creatures” in chapter 3 where he discusses his perfect match in Miss Kay. In what ways are men strange creatures? Phil also points to the Apostle Peter’s definition of godly women (Peter 3:1–6). What are your thoughts on these verses?
5. In chapter 6, “Honky Tonk,” the perspective switches to Miss Kay’s and we hear her side of the story. She says, “When I was younger, I read that a person can live so long without water, so long without food, but that you can never live without hope. I have always believed that hope and dreams are what keep us going.” Discuss. What do you think, in what ways do you agree or disagree?
6. Once Phil buys his land and begins his commercial fishing business, he teaches his sons about helping out and work being a family enterprise. It is a little lesson that made a big difference in his children’s life. What little life lessons have been taught to you (or that you have taught to your children) that have stuck with you and made a big impact on your life?
7. In “Redneck Caviar” Phil discusses his land and how he tries his best to keep the swamp ecosystem sustainable for the wildlife that inhabit the area. He also marvel’s at God’s hand in keeping the land pure and healthy. What are some of your favorite outdoor spots and why? What do you or can you do to help keep your favorite outdoor hangouts healthy and clean?
8. “My philosophy on discipline,” Phil says, “was very simple. Since rules are made to be broken, I kept the rules few and far between. However, there was a code in the Robertson house: three licks was the standard punishment.” It seemed to work well for his family. What do you think of this philosophy?
9. Phil talks about his sons as being prodigals, returning home after being wayward for a while. “If you don’t have faith, there’s nowhere to turn. My boys always knew where to go when they ran into trouble.” What would you do with a prodigal child? How would you treat them? Do you have any experience with or as a prodigal?
10. Phil quotes Romans 12:17–21 “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good,” when he tells the story of how he stopped men from stealing his fish—he gave them away and the stealing stopped. Discuss this; how would you have reacted? Have you ever been faced with a similar situation? What happened?
11. Alan, Phil’s oldest son, quotes his father saying, “Son, don’t ever tell people how good or great you are at something; let them tell you.” Discuss this advice. What does it mean to you?
12. Phil finds his “happy” in his faith, family, and duck hunting. Discuss what makes you happy, happy, happy. What are some ways you can bring “happy” to others?
Enhance Your Book Club
1. Phil’s book is largely about finding happy and living happy. So do something that makes you happy! Do it as a group or by yourself. Try something new; find a new happy. Ever been hunting? No? Maybe you could try it! Or just go target shooting instead. Or go fishing as a group. If hunting and fishing are not your happy, maybe bike riding or hiking. Try an outdoor activity together. You never know if something will make you happy unless you try it!
2. Have a Duck Dynasty viewing party. As a group everyone could watch the show and discuss the moral of that week’s episode(s). Bring snacks, you could even be adventurous and it could be wild game snacks—frogs legs, squirrel brains, duck dumplings . . . okay, maybe not that adventurous. Maybe you could just have wild game themed food. You could make wild turkey sandwiches and pretend you hunted that turkey instead of buying it at the store. Or bring chicken fingers but you can them duck fingers.