Some decisions stay with us and even define us for the rest of lives. Some choices seem so clear that we forget we made them. Serious choices demand time to weigh the pros and cons of our actions, the positive or negative ways the choices affect other people. Occasionally, someone (a friend, a parent) will insist that we don’t have a choice. But don’t we always have a choice? Skip Marley’s song “Calm down” is about taking a step back and thinking about whether a decision is worth getting worked up about.
Key Lyrics: I thought we figured out how not to spill blood / I thought we figured out to walk away / I thought we found that love was not a failure / Decided that the sea would have no waves / …..And we get worked up for nothing, yeah / I get worked up and they get worked up / And we get worked up for what? / …Calm down, oh, calm down
Questions: What decisions do you make on a daily basis? When have you felt pressure to choose to act in a way you didn’t want to do? How does stepping back and thinking about a choice help? What prejudices do you see in your school or community? How can you create a more welcoming environment?
This week’s Spirit discusses relationships, dating, and What it means to be in a healthy relationship? The high school years are prime time for making friends and dating. Most of us spend those years within a wide circle of friends and, as we get older, we start to pair off into more exclusive relationships. When we date, we explore and set boundaries, expectations, and priorities. The song “Love” is about being in love and what can happen when we open ourselves up to experiencing love.
Key Lines: You get ready, you get all dressed up / To go nowhere in particular / Back to work or the coffee shop / Doesn’t matter cause it’s enough / To be young and in love / To be young and in love
Questions: What does love mean to you? How do you describe a healthy relationship? How do you identify boundaries between people? Who do you want to be within your circle of friends, family, or with a significant other?
This week’s Spirit tackles our ideas of self-image and beauty. High school can be a difficult time. A lot of personal and social changes are taking place; we’re constantly trying to fit in and fit an image of who we think we should be and who people will accept. Trying to live up to these expectations can make us act in ways that aren’t in our best interests. Alessia Cara’s song “Scars To Your Beautiful” is a song that reminds us that we’re all beautiful regardless of who might say otherwise.
Key Lyrics: But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark / You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are / And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart / No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful
Questions: What is your idea of perfection? How are your self-expectations different from social expectations? When have these expectations come into conflict? How did you handle it?
School, work, extra curricular activities—all come with expectations: that we get good grades, do a good job, and perform at the top of our game. But what do we do when the pressure builds up and challenges the expectations we have of ourselves? Something Just Like This reminds us that we don’t have to be superheroes to make ourselves and others happy.
Key Lines: She said, where’d you wanna go? / How much you wanna risk? / I’m not looking for somebody / With some superhuman gifts / Some superhero / Some fairytale bliss / Just something I can turn to / Somebody I can miss
Questions: What expectations do you have of yourself? What expectations do others have of you? When have you felt pressure to meet these expectations? How do you handle this? How do you define happiness?
In the day-to-day shuffle, we cyberbeings often forget to unplug and recognize the beauty in the world around us. Sometimes that beauty takes a little work to uncover, whether it’s cleaning up a road ditch or a deserted piece of land. This week’s Spirit reminds us that we live in communion with Earth and that we are responsible for taking care of our common home. Kari Jobe’s song “The Garden” reiterates this message by reminding us that hope exists all around us, in all we make and grow.
Key Lines: Faith is rising up like ivy / Reaching for the light / Hope is stirring deep inside me / Making all things right… / Now I see redemption / Growing in the trees / The death and resurrection / In every single seed…
Questions: What can Earth teach you? How do we affect Earth? What concerns you most about the world we live in? What initiatives can you start in your school and community to make the world a better place?
Turning the other cheek when someone hits you is an act of nonviolence, of stopping violence rather than taking it to another level. Whether a bully by choice or a child soldier by force, fighting leads to more fighting, violence feeds violence. Jesus challenges us to stop the payback cycles, “to love our enemies, pray for our persecutors.” Katy Perry’s song “Rise” is about rising above the fray and challenging ourselves and those around us to be better.
Key Lines: I won’t just survive / Oh, you will see me thrive /Can’t write my story / I’m beyond the archetype / I won’t just conform / No matter how you shake my core / ‘Cause my roots, they run deep, oh
Questions: What does Jesus mean when he tells us to love our enemies? When have you turned the other cheek? How can you reach out to those you disagree with or join with others to stop those who bully? What are some ways you can resolve situations peacefully?
In high school, moments when we feel on the outside looking in happen a lot. Everyone wants to be popular; everyone wants to be included. Often we feel socially tested, judged about everything from the people we hang out with to the very clothes we wear. It’s also a time when we determine what and who are important to us: is being popular more important than just being ourselves? Who are real friends? The song “I Am.” is a song that challenges those who want to tear us down and reminds us that we are all beautiful people.
Key Lyrics: No, no, no, don’t you dare / Who do you think you are standing there? / I’ll tell you / I am, I am, I am, I am worthy of love / Am I, am I, am I, am I strong enough?
Questions: What does popularity mean in your school? When have you given something or someone up to be popular? Why do groups act so cruelly about who is in and who is out? What does it mean to bully another person? What instances of bullying have you seen around your school or community?