Sticks and Stones Contest

Posted on: 03/4/13 11:14 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s amazing how many voices are rising out of the playgrounds, past and present, to express the perspective of one who’s been bullied.

My dad, myself, and my son were all bullied as kids. My dad was called tubby; I, with my huge overbite was called “bucky”; and my son, with his vivid imagination was called names I refuse to type. So I resonate with these voices.

You’ve heard my perspective on this before in my article, The Voice of the Bullied, and many of you have heard my son share his story. Here’s another story, using poetry and animation, that is going viral on YouTube. I found it touching… and real!

This would be a great tool to get teenagers talking about bullying, self esteem, loneliness, or belonging. So let’s have a simple little contest.

CONTEST: Using the comments section below, write three simple small group questions and at least one scripture reference that naturally springboard from this video. The simpler, the better. Winner gets their choice of any of my books. I’ll post the winner one week from today. But everyone will win with this one, because you’ll have a video and a host of great questions to use from this comment section.

Show me what you got!!!

WINNER: Some great questions below, it was hard to choose. So here’s what I did. I had my entire writing/editing team look at all the entries below and then send me their top 3. Only one name was on every one of their lists, and that name was Tony Walsh. Good job Tony. Let me know which of my books you’d like and I’ll ship that out to you today!

17 Replies to “Sticks and Stones Contest”

  1. Great video!
    Here are some questions to start the discussion. Looking forward to what others come up with.

    1. Words can hurt, read James 3:6 What does the writer have to say about the tongue and its power. Why is it so important to control what you say?

    2. The speaker, Shane Koyczan, says at one point “If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself get a better mirror” and “you have to believe that they were wrong” What or who should you look too for a better mirror? Read Romans 8:38-39. Why is it so important to believe “they have to be wrong.”

    3. Shane says a couple of times “I’m not the only kid who grew up this way.” Often we have more in common with the people around us than we care to admit. What are some ways we can find common ground with those who outwardly seem different than us?

  2. 1. Did you ever confuse names of things when you where younger, like the first person did with pork chops and karate chops?

    2. What is something that you see in your schools that breaks your heart?

    3. Psalm 147 talks about those that are broken hearted and need healing and that they can find hope in God? Have you ever been called a name, made fun of, or been the center of a joke and just wanted to give up? How can you find hope or have you found hope in God through that time in your life?

  3. What’s missing from this video? How else could it end, or what other point could he make after this leaves off?

    How does one’s world-view change one’s self-view? CAN a person see themselves as beautiful if they believe they are nothing more than a soulless chemical accident? Or is that merely self-deceipt?

    Read Genesis 3. What is the sources of our inner beauty? Our value? WHY do we, MUST we, each matter to our selves? To each other? To GOD?

    I pray, that through this discussion, the world’s eyes will be opened to the true beauty that we are, not as mere animals, but as children of the most high God, made in His image, and bought by the blood of His Son. Apart from seeing that truth and having a proper world-view there IS no beauty, and can BE no legitimate sense of self-worth.

  4. How would this video help a bully? a victim of teasing?

    What gives a person value or makes a person beautiful according to Shane Koyczan, the author of this video?

    Read Psalm 139:13-16
    What gives a person value according to this passage?

  5. Jon,
    this was harder than i first imagined. this topic is so relevant and important that it was hard for me to boil it down into just 1 small group discussion. but this is what i came up with:

    1. Read James 2:1-9 especially verse 8-9: “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” What are some ways in which people “show favoritism”? James identifies wealth as one of the characteristics that people look for when they show favoritism. What are some characterisics in people that cause teenagers to “show favoritism”? What are some things that make kids climb high or low on the social ladder? What are some ways that teenagers “show favoritism”?

    2. Read Matthew 25:40: “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” How does God’s vision of others differ from most people? How does God view the bullied and the underdog? How should we?

    3. Read Proverbs 31:8-9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Oftentimes teenagers will ostracize those who don’t quite fit in – they become targets; they get picked on and bullied. When you are the object of bullying it can make you feel like you have no voice; like no one cares. What is a proper response when you witness another teen being bullied? What if you are the one being bullied – what should you do? How can you cope? The pressure and anxiety on a teenager who is being bullied can often times be overwhelming. What’s the best way to deal with that? What kind of hope can you offer to someone being bullied? What advice would you give to a friend who is being bullied?

  6. What is something you have been made fun of for?
    Have you ever looked at yourself differently because of someone else’s words (good or bad)?
    Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 15:4 Most of us recognize that we shouldn’t hurt other people with our words, but how can we bring healing with what we say?

  7. 1. Who do yo identify with most: a) Pork Chop the narrator of this video, b) Ugly the girl with a facial birthmark, c) adopted rejected man, or d) some other character?
    2. In this very powerful visual & poetic video what image resonates with you most?
    3. What’s some of the worst names you have heard, been called, or possibly have even said yourself?
    Lead into a discussion on who you are in Christ, not labels placed by others. And how we should be agents of helping people realize who they are in Christ. Satan will try to convince us differently through labels from others, but we need to listen to our creator.
    Looking at some great passages about who we are in Christ such as Romans 8:14-15, Galatians 3:26 & 4:6 just to name a few.

  8. 1. We can spend a lifetime trying to convince ourselves that we’re okay and that others are wrong, but should we? When we focus on ourselves we usually respond with either pity (thinking too little of ourselves) or pride (thinking too highly of ourselves). Check out Colossians 3:1-3. What should we focus our thoughts on?

    2. So, what does God say about us? Check out the depth of His love for you as seen in Romans 5:6-8 and Ephesians 2:4-10. What did you do to earn His love?

    3. As we daily, constantly, focus on Christ and the things of God, the world will have less and less influence upon us. We can begin to believe & accept that we are truly loved and that Jesus’ death on our behalf makes us priceless. When people who are still seeking value and worth according to the world’s standards put us down and try to get us focused on ourselves again, we can hold fast to what is true about us. What is the truth about us according to Psalm 139 and 1 John 3:1?

  9. 1. What emotions do you feel after watching this video? Can you relate to them?

    2. What things in this video are true in your life (are you the bully or the bullied)?

    3. Do you think that bullying is something Jesus can relate to? How did Jesus handle his bullies? Read Matthew 27:27-30, Luke 23:34 & Luke 23:36.

  10. Three questions:

    1. Describe a moment when you felt fully you!
    2. Describe a moment when you felt fully misunderstood, misjudged, or set aside.
    3. To which moment will you ascribe power? How?

    1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

    7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

  11. 1) What have you been called? And have you believed it?
    2) Read Proverbs 18:21. How powerful are words? Are you speaking life or death? Are those in your life breathing life or death into you?
    3) Read Psalm 139:13-16. Psalm 40:5. Jeremiah 29:11. Who are we in the eyes of God? What does He desire for us?
    4) Read Romans 5:3-4. Read James 1:2-3. Can any good come of suffering?
    5) Summarize what Joseph’s brothers did to him. Read Genesis 50:20. How did God give purpose to Joseph’s pain? What might God do with the pain/suffering in your life?

  12. 1. Growing up we hear things like the “sticks and stones” rhyme as phrases used in an attempt to minimize hurt, what other fallacies have you been told that don’t really address the pain you feel?

    2. Have you ever stepped into a bullying situation to lend a hand and heart to someone in pain? What was your experience?

    3. How can we better model the example of Christ in our treatment/judgement of others?

    Since Kate beat me to 1 Samuel 16:7, I’ll add 1 Peter 3:4. Use the verse to center a discussion around the idea that our inner self is of greater significance than our outer self.

    1. Tony Walsh, you are so cool! Way to win the contest and prove me wrong. Can’t wait to use this at youth after Easter.

  13. I don’t have any questions to add but maybe before or after the video you could by a song by By Britt Nicole called “Gold” in her song she repeats the lyrics
    Sticks and Stones. It goes with with video.

  14. actually could not resist using this video on Sunday night. Before we even hit “play”, I learned that a few of our kids saw it last week at an anti-bullying assembly…so we had to set it up a little differently, and ask them to look for things they didn’t quite understand or things that bothered them while they watched. The most interesting questions we asked/wrestled afterward were…

    1. What do we know about the author of this video from the content and tone of it?
    2. Shane seems a little angry…who or what is he angry at?
    3a. What does Shane say we should do with our faults/shortcomings/weaknesses/blemishes?
    3b. What does our society tell us to do with them?
    3c. What would God have us do with our “issues”?

    We ended up discussing the origin of hope in the video vs the origin of any hope for us as Christians.

    A few kids fell asleep. But several engaged the discussion, and a few heated disagreements and tense moments came out between students. In the end, our leaders told me afterwards that they “wish EVERY week could be like that!” Anyone have any other ideas to get our students arguing passionately THIS week? 🙂

    1. I almost forgot one of the most curious discussion points. With regard to the kid who is struggling with prescription drugs, etc, we spent a few minutes pondering whether there are times in our lives where we feel not like we’re putting ON a facade, but when our facade – our appearance – is the most REAL thing about us. That line about being “Drug Free” is really confusing when you first see it, and we concluded that for that kid, he wants to know who he really is, and feels like he’s so messed up and confused inside, his facade has more credibility than his mind or emotions.

      I know that is confusing…but it was a pretty cool “hmmmm…” moment for our group.

      Also, we closed with the video for “You Are More” from Fifth Avenue North…

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