Engaging kids in conversations about “Stranger Things”

I’m loving this new Netflix Discussion page!

Yeah! Using Stranger Things to discuss Luke Chapter 11. Whodathunkit?

A few months ago we announced a brand new resource on our TheSource4Parents.com page … our brand new Netflix Discussions page. The page gives parents ideas for dialoguing about what they watch with their kids on Netflix.

No, we don’t expect moms and dads to sit their kids down and teach them a lesson. Far from it. What we hope to provide parents with is a loose guide towards meaningful dialogue including sample questions they might ask.

Funny, I’ve already received feedback from youth workers letting me know they were excited about using this resource as well. I don’t blame them. Much like our youth ministry Music Discussions page and our YouTube Discussions page (both FREE resources on TheSource4YM.com) this brand new Netflix Discussions page uses entertainment media to engage young people into conversations about truth.

The page is still in its early stages, but we’ve already completed discussions of the entire first season of Stranger Things, all 8 episodes. These discussion guides were written by a school teacher and mom who has personally used Stranger Things to engage her own kids (8 and 11) in meaningful conversation. She gives us a peek at this in her discussion guide from Season 1, Episode 6: The Monster:

My 11-year-old son, Aidan, and I re-watched this episode together. Afterwards, he invited me out to the hot tub where I asked him who or what he thought the monster was in the movie. At first he looked at me and said quickly, “the monster Mom!” I stayed quiet and he started to talk, “Well, I guess it could be Steve and his friends – ’cause they’re always so mean… and I guess it could be the bullies that are always picking on Mike and the guys.” Our daughter, Elise, soon joined us and we started discussing friendships that they have at school. Inevitably, the conversation turned to bullying and bullies – what made them act the way they did. We talked about what monsters in our lives look like and decided that they are kind of like shape-shifters, changing over time. They can have faces just like us, and sometimes we ourselves become the monsters through our actions or even the thoughts that we have.

We live in a fallen world, a world full of visible and invisible monsters, literally. Children voice fears of monsters under their beds or lurking in their closets. But really, we encounter monsters every day…

In Season 1, Episode 8: The Upside Down, an episode that ends with an opportunity for a Gospel presentation, our discussion writer shares how much she enjoys the “messy” realism in the midst of a fictional premise:

As a Christian living in an imperfect world, I loved the loose ends and lack of neatness in this final episode. Life itself is often a messy version of what we want to portray in images or postings on Facebook. And the reality is, people are sinful and continue to mess up, especially when they are only looking to themselves and not trusting in the Lord. Is it possible that Hopper really made a horrible choice to sacrifice El in order to save Will? That idea is troubling to consider, but nevertheless, it happens in real life all the time. People that you expect to make good choices sometimes don’t – and sometimes they really don’t…

Enjoy all 8 episodes on our FREE Netflix Discussion page!

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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