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Cooler Than Me
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
12/15/2010

Dynamic ImageMain Point of Discussion: Christians should never act as though they’re “cooler” than others.

The Song: “Cooler Than Me” by Mike Posner

Vital Info Before You Get Started: (The following should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)

  • “Cooler Than Me” focuses on the common teenage “coolness caste system” through which kids are assigned “cool” or “uncool” positions, which can impact self-esteem.

  • Keep in mind that the official version of this song includes one profanity, but there’s also a cleaned-up version performed recently on the Ellen show [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=virpD_CYFxA]. (The uncensored version is easily heard via YouTube.)

  • If your kids only know the cleaned-up version of “Cooler Than Me” (yeah, right!), keep the option open to acknowledge with your kids that while there’s an edited-out profanity in the cleaned-up lyrics, the overall message of the song is what’s important.

  • Don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.


The Music Video:
The song’s video can be found at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqWq_48LxWQ



Partial Lyrics: (clean version)

[chorus]
If I could write you a song
and make you fall in love,
I would already have you up under my arm.
I used to pull all my tricks,
I hope that you like this.
But you probably won’t,
you think you’re cooler than me.

You got designer shades,
just to hide your face and
you wear them around like
you’re cooler than me.
And you never say “Hey”
or remember my name.
It’s probably cuz
you think you’re cooler than me.

[verse 1]
You got your hot crowd,
shoes on your feet,
and you wear them around
like they ain’t sh--.
But you don’t know
the way that you look
when your steps
make
that
much
noise.

See I got you
all figured out.
You need everyone’s eyes just to feel seen.
Girl, you’re so vain,
you probably think that this song is about you.
Don’t you? Don’t you?


Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
Q: What’s the message of this song?

A: That “cool” people can be shallow, insecure, rude, etc., and that there’s a way to fight back and put “cool” people in their place.

Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this song?
A: First, acting “cool” isn’t cool; Christians should have no part of it because it alienates “uncool” people, possibly preventing them from having friendships with believers and hearing the gospel. Second, lashing out or getting revenge against “cool” people isn’t right or godly behavior, either. Rather than rip on the kinds of people Posner criticizes in this song, Christians should do better than that.

Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this song to actually living out those opinions?
A: The Bible says in Matthew 5:43-48 (The Message)…
    “You're familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,” and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

    “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion:
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)


Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our "Parenting Help" page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today's Teens.

Transitional Statement:
Posner clearly isn’t thrilled with attitudes of the females around him. But as we note previously, the “cool factor” he observes is common among guys and girls—and common among all kinds of relationships. Maybe you’ve felt like that at times—I know I have. The question is, Does the Bible have anything to say about “being cool”?

More Discussion Questions:

  1. SAY THIS FIRST: Before we look at this passage, keep in mind that Jesus was in part directing his comments to the “popular” crowd of his day—the religious leaders. They definitely had a I’m-cooler-than-you mentality.

  2. Read the following passage from the Bible:

      Matthew 5:43-48 (The Message)
      “You're familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,” and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

      “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

  3. ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: Based on this passage, how do you suppose Jesus views “being cool”?

  4. ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: Toward the end of the passage, how does Jesus expect “kingdom subjects” to behave?

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How might praying for both the more popular and the less popular help you resist the temptation to classify people?

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How do you suppose Jesus would handle rejection and ridicule if he were a student at your school?

Wrap Up:
The desire for popularity and the tendency to put people into categories is human nature, but God calls Christians to a higher standard. If we’re hoping to effectively share the gospel with others, the first thing we need to do is reject the idea of being “cool.”


(Pass out 3x5 cards—containing the below text—and pens.)

Ask every family member to take a few minutes and fill in the blanks with this prompt:

If I am honest, I believe I am cooler than these people: (list first names only)

If I am honest, I believe these people think they’re cooler than me: (list first names only)


After the cards are filled out, ask your family members to take a few minutes to pray for the names on their cards so that God would give them (family members, too) the courage to end the popularity game and be bold in loving everybody the same.

Close in Prayer

Written by Lane Palmer

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