Talk to Me About Bullying
Dear Youth Leaders,
The attached material was created and compiled as a response to the ongoing bullying in our nation’s schools and communities that we believe has reached a tragically alarming magnitude. We have created 3 lessons that involve a “youth-group-like” balance of intense/reflective tones and light-hearted, ice-breaking opportunities. These lessons rely heavily on video clips, all of which are available through YouTube. The purpose of these lessons are to engage our teenagers in discussions about bullying and guide them towards what we strongly feel are Christian principles that help us discern how to react to, prevent, and address bullying behaviors.
There are three lessons, “The Power of Our Words,” “Made in the image of God,” and “Finding God in the Dark.”
If you’d like, you may follow these lessons word for word – each lesson has notes to the leader, activities, film clips, “Key Points”, and questions for large and small group discussions. We hope that you are able to also use this material as a starting place for wherever you or your group feel led to take this conversation.
If you have any questions or need additional assistance please feel free to contact either one of us.
Director of Youth Ministries
Community Church of Vero Beach, United Church of Christ
Director of Youth Ministries
First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor
THE POWER OF OUR WORDS
Scripture: John 1:1
“ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
1) Mad-Libs – (This lesson begins with the fun and easy activity of mad-libs. Break the youth up into small groups with one or two stories per group. You can find free mad-libs at – www.madglibs.com)
KEY Key Point: WORDS ARE FUNNY THINGS. SOMETIMES WE TAKE FOR GRANTED THE POWER THAT JUST ONE WORD CAN HAVE ON A PERSON OR SITUATION.
2) Scripture – Gospel of John; “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.”
Key Point: WORDS ARE DIVINELY POWERFUL. THEY EITHER HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD, OR THEY CAN ALSO BE WEAPONS.
3) Scaraoke (Classic song lyrics being read from a page by an 82 year-old
man – very hilarious!)
Search YouTube Title “Scaraoke’s Greatest Hits.”
Or URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RAMJoOejDA)
Key Point: WITHOUT MEANING/PASSION/SINCERITY OUR WORDS ARE USELESS AND WASTED. WHERE ARE WE, AS CHRISTIANS, SUPPOSED TO BE FOCUSING OUR ENERGIES? THE MOST OF THESE? THE LEAST OF THESE? SHOULD WE BE LOOKING TO SPEAK TO THE MARGINALIZED? ISNT THAT WHAT JESUS DID?
4) Vigil for Billy Lucas (Local news coverage of suicide of bullying-victim Billy
Search YouTube Title “Vigil for Billy Lucas”
OR URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RAMJoOejDA
KEY POINT: HOW WOULD WE SPEAK IF WE KNEW THAT OUR WORDS HAD THAT MUCH POWER OVER SOMEBODY’S LIFE?( BILLY’S FUNERAL WAS ATTENDED BY THE KIDS THAT BULLIED HIM). HOW WOULD WE SPEAK IF WE KNEW THAT WE HAD TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR WORDS FOREVER?
5) Glee (A clip from the popular show. Finn is confronted by Kurt’s dad after
using language that he didn’t realize was offensive or hurtful – a very moving clip.)
Search YouTube Title “Glee Burt Hummel’s Speech”
OR URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCtF8QEC8hY
TRANSITION: EVEN THE WORDS WE SAY THAT WE ASSUME HAVE NO MEANING CAN BE VERY HURTFUL AND DAMAGING. AS CHRISTIANS, WE AREN’T JUST CALLED TO BE LOVING AND KIND. IT’S IS AS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE CALLED TO FIGHT ON BEHALF OF THE OPPRESSED, BE A VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS, STAND UP AGAINST WRONG… WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT BULLYING??
(IN THE NEXT TWO CLIPS, ONE IS FUNNY; ONE IS SERIOUS. THEY ADDRESS THE “BULLYING EPIDEMIC.” WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO ABOUT BULLYING?)
6) Fresh Prince Fighting lessons (Will teaches Ashley how to deal with bullies)
Search YouTube Title “Fresh Prince Fighting Lessons”
OR URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdSWk6RerQ0
7) The Bullying Epidemic (A CBS Report about Bullying in today’s world)
Search YouTube Title “The Bullying Epidemic”
OR URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHHgJxaQj3A
KEY POINT: IN THE SECOND CLIP, IT WAS REPORTED THAT OF THE OVER 8 MILLION STUDENTS BEING BULLIED, ONLY A THIRD REPORTED IT TO AN ADULT. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? THE FRESH PRINCE CLIP MIGHT HAVE BEEN FUNNY, BUT HOW MANY OF US HAVE GONE FOR ADVICE, AND GOTTEN SOMETHING THAT WASN’T VERY HELPFUL?
SMALL GROUP OPPORTUNITY: LET’S GET INTO GROUPS AND TALK ABOUT, “WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT BULLYING?”
AFTER GROUPS, KEY POINT BEFORE VIDEO: WORDS ARE POWERFUL. WE HAVE A CHOICE. WE MUST CHOOSE HOW WE ARE GOING TO USE THEM.
8) Lost Generation (A powerful demonstration of how the direction of our
words makes a huge difference.)
Search YouTube Title “Lost Generation”
OR URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42E2fAWM6rA
KEY POINT: THIS GENERATION WILL EXPERIENCE BULLYING IN A WAY THAT IS MUCH MORE MAGNIFIED THAN EVER BEFORE. ARE WE, AS CHRISTIANS, WILLING TO CLAIM THE POWER OF OUR WORDS AND USE THEM IN A WAY THAT WILL CHANGE THE WORLD AND SAVE WHAT MIGHT OTHERWISE BECOME A “LOST GENERATION?”
CLOSING PRAYER: GOD OF EVERYONE, OF ALL CREATION, GIVE US THE COURAGE TO STAND UP IN WORDS AND IN OUR ACTIONS AGAINST THE BULLYING, BELITTLING, AND INSULTING OF OTHER PEOPLE. MAY THIS GROUP, THIS SPACE, THIS COMMUNITY ALWAYS BE A SAFE SPACE FOR THOSE THAT NEED TO BE REMINDED THAT YOU HAVE CREATED THEM IN YOUR BEAUTIFUL IMAGE. WE PRAY FOR THOSE BEING BULLIED, THAT YOU MIGHT OFFER SUSTAINING PROTECTION AND THE REMINDER THAT YOU HAVE PLACED A SPECIAL CALLING ON THEIR LIVES. WE PRAY FOR THOSE DOING THE BULLYING, THAT YOU MIGHT GUIDE THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF THEIR THOUGHTLESS WORDS AND ACTIONS SO THAT THEIR ENERGY MIGHT NO LONGER BEING WASTED WORKING AGAINST THE IDEA OF CHRIST’S LOVE. AND WE PRAY FOR THOSE BYSTANDERS WHO ARE FACED WITH THE CHOICE OF WHETHER OR NOT TO ACT AND STAND UP AGAINST BULLYING. BLESS US WITH COURAGE SO THAT WE MIGHT CONFRONT THESE WRONGS, SO THAT THIS VULNERABLE GENERATION COULD BETTER KNOW YOUR LOVE, GRACE, AND EXTRAVAGANT WELCOME, AMEN.