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Wide Awake
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
11/07/2012

The Song: Wide Awake by Katy Perry

Main Point of Discussion: Christians should be wide awake and cautious. We don’t have to fall for future lies, regardless of what we’ve done in the past.

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.)

Discussion Starter: Wide Awake by Katy Perry.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away.

  • This song by Katy Perry is one of the first tunes released after her divorce from comedian Russell Brand. It’s pretty clear from the lyrics that she’s still dealing with broken promises, fake Prince Charmings, and upset. In the music video, she seems to discover that life isn’t a fairy tale. In the end, she learns to recognize the lies of the Prince Charmings that come her way. After all the breakups and disappointments, she says she’s “wide awake.”

  • The song went to #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 rankings and did well on iTunes Top Singles, as well.

  • 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.

Introducing the Song:
I want us to take a look at Katy Perry’s song Wide Awake. I think the song’s message can offer us a lot in the way of dealing with upset, heartache, grief, and disappointment. You’ll see in the music video that she’s learning how to cope with the fact that not everything is the way it seems. In life, you and I have to be on guard against lies and manipulation, but also avoid becoming jaded and overly skeptical. Maybe there’s something we can learn about that from this song.


Lyrics for Wide Awake

I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake

I'm wide awake
Yeah, I was in the dark
I was falling hard
With an open heart
I'm wide awake
How did I read the stars so wrong

I'm wide awake
And now it's clear to me
That everything you see
Ain't always what it seems
I'm wide awake
Yeah, I was dreaming for so long

I wish I knew then
What I know now
Wouldn't dive in
Wouldn't bow down
Gravity hurts
You made it so sweet
Till I woke up on
On the concrete

[Chorus]
Falling from cloud nine
Crashing from the high
I'm letting go tonight
I'm falling from cloud nine

I'm wide awake
Not losing any sleep
Picked up every piece
And landed on my feet
I'm wide awake
Need nothing to complete myself, no

I'm wide awake
Yeah, I am born again
Out of the lion's den
I don't have to pretend
And it's too late
The story's over now, the end

I wish I knew then
What I know now
Wouldn't dive in
Wouldn't bow down
Gravity hurts
You made it so sweet
Till I woke up on
On the concrete

[Chorus]

Thunder rumbling
Castles crumbling
I am trying to hold on
God knows that I tried
Seeing the bright side
But I'm not blind anymore
I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake

[Chorus]

I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake


Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What’s the message of this song?

A: It seems as though Katy is learning that not everything is as it seems, sometimes people lie, and that when we crash, it hurts.

Q: How does this song relate to young people today?
A: Lots of young people go through the exact same situations Katy sings about in this song. Relationships end, promises get broken, and hearts become hard. It’s all very sad.

Q: What are some good ways to avoid the pain and suffering that Katy sings about here?
A: Be very cautious about who we befriend, date, and trust. Take time in building a relationship of trust FIRST.

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, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.

Transitional Statement:

After reading the lyrics to this song, it seems like Katy Perry has taken a moment to reflect on her life. She admits she’s made mistakes and been treated harshly. She realizes that not everyone in her life is who they actually claim to be. She confesses that she’s taken some hits for being gullible. But she also says she’s had enough. Going forward, she’s gonna be wide awake. She won’t fall for lies anymore. She’s going to try to see people as they truly are. She’s had enough disappoint, heartache, and pain. The interesting thing is, God would give Christians similar advice to what Katy Perry dishes out: “stay wide awake.” Let’s talk about that for a few moments.


More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Before we get stated, let's each take a second and share a personal “wake up moment” from our past.

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: You probably know that Katy Perry was raised in a Christian home, that she was once a Christian singer, and that she has recently gone through a very public divorce. Do you think this song ties in with her real life in any way? Why or why not?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: The song leads us to believe that Katy Perry was acknowledging her past mistakes, but also saying, “Going forward, I’m wide awake.” What did she mean by that?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: When we face something tragic like loss, broken relationships, upset, or disappointment, what are some of our reactions/responses that we go through?

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What advice do you think God would give Katy Perry going forward?

  6. Read the following passage:

      1 Peter 5:6-11 (NIV)

      Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Peter’s version of “wide awake” is to “be self-controlled and alert.” Why is it important to be self-controlled and alert?

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How would your lives be different if you were more self-controlled and alert?

  9. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: If you remain “wide awake” this week, what do you think you’ll see?

Wrap Up:
Perry’s latest song seems to be a play-by-play recap of some of her biggest mistakes. All the way back to childhood, Katy Perry seemed to be falling for lies and trickery, and paying a big price for it. It stinks to be taken advantage of, or lied to, or manipulated. That’s never fun. It leads to pain and a hard heart.

But Katy also talked about her new mindset going forward. She said that from now on, she’s going to be “wide awake.”

The Bible also talks about living our lives “alert” and with “self-control.” We looked at Peter’s warning to Christians and hopefully, we’ll walk away with some good ideas about how to live a life of focus and determination. We need to be self-controlled and alert because we have an enemy that wants to destroy us.

No matter what mistakes we’ve made in the past, we don’t have to repeat them. Let’s live “self-controlled and alert” lives so that God gets the glory.


Close in Prayer

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