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What Makes You Beautiful
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
11/15/2012

The Song: What Makes You Beautiful (One Direction)

Main Point: Even though others may admire us for our outer beauty, God is much more concerned with the beauty that comes from within.

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

  • 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.

  • The music video by One Direction, or 1D, as they’re often called, is about the guys’ affection for a beautiful girl, who evidently doesn’t know she’s beautiful. “Beautiful” is a refreshing way of describing a girl in today’s music, and by that, we mean, “clean.” Furthermore, the girl seems to possess a marked humility about herself that doesn’t allow her to be conceited. You can view the music video for yourself on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJO3ROT-A4E.

  • One Direction is currently one of Billboard’s “21 Hottest Stars Under the Age of 21.” With the release of their album, 1D gained the honor of being the highest debuting group ever on Hot 100 on Billboard Charts by a band from the UK.

  • 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 Music Video:
No shrieking, but I want us to watch One Direction’s song “What Makes You Beautiful.” To tell the truth, I really like this song a lot, not only because it’s kinda catchy, but also because it promotes a pretty positive message. In the song, 1D talks about a beautiful girl who doesn’t know she’s beautiful. Further, the girl seems to model a certain humility about her beauty, which is also very good. Let’s take a look at the song’s official music video.


The Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJO3ROT-A4E




Song Lyrics -
    You're insecure
    Don't know what for
    You're turning heads when you walk through the door
    Don't need make up
    To cover up
    Being the way that you are is enough

    Everyone else in the room can see it
    Everyone else but you

    [Chorus]
    Baby you light up my world like nobody else
    The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
    But when you smile at the ground it aint hard to tell
    You don't know
    Oh Oh
    You don't know you're beautiful

    If only you saw what I can see
    You'll understand why I want you so desperately
    Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe
    You don't know
    Oh oh
    You don't know you're beautiful
    Oh oh
    That what makes you beautiful

    So c-come on
    You got it wrong
    To prove I'm right I put it in a song
    I don't know why
    You're being shy
    And turn away when I look into your eyes

    Everyone else in the room can see it
    Everyone else but you

    [Chorus]
    Baby you light up my world like nobody else
    The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
    But when you smile at the ground it aint hard to tell
    You don't know
    Oh oh
    You don't know you're beautiful

    If only you saw what I can see
    You'll understand why I want you so desperately
    Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe
    You don't know
    Oh oh
    You don't know you're beautiful
    Oh oh
    That's what makes you beautiful

    [Bridge]
    Nana Nana Nana Nana
    Nana Nana Nana Nana
    Nana Nana Nana Nana

    Baby you light up my world like nobody else
    The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
    But when you smile at the ground it aint hard to tell
    You don't know
    Oh Oh
    You don't know you're beautiful

    [Chorus]
    Baby you light up my world like nobody else
    The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
    But when you smile at the ground it aint hard to tell
    You don't know
    Oh oh
    You don't know you're beautiful

    If only you saw what I can see
    You'll understand why I want you so desperately
    Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe
    You don't know
    Oh Oh
    You don't know you're beautiful
    Oh oh
    You don't know you're beautiful
    Oh oh
    That's what makes you beautiful

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: What was it about the girl that impressed the guys in the video?
    A: She was beautiful, but she didn’t act like it. In fact, she didn’t even seem to think she was beautiful.

    Q: Do you think most of today’s girls are like the girl in the video? Why or why not?
    A: Our world definitely seems to put a lot of emphasis on our outer beauty. Lots of young girls are consumed with how they look and what others think of them.

    Q: What are some lessons we can take away from this song?
    A: For starters, don’t focus on our outer beauty so much. Secondly, model the humility that the girl seemed to have. Finally, look for a guy who thinks you’re beautiful even if you don’t.

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:

You don’t know you’re beautiful and THAT’S what makes you beautiful. The girl in the video is being admired by the guys in the band for her beauty. That’s OK. But they also think she’s unaware of her incredible beauty…and that’s the real attraction these guys have for her! I love the humility this girl shows! What I want us to spend our time talking about is this simple truth: even though others may admire us for our outer beauty, God is much more concerned with the beauty that comes from within. That statement is found directly in the Word of God, so let’s get to it!


More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our favorite boy band of all time (if you have one).

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What was the overall message the guys were trying to communicate in this song?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you have friends who are beautiful but seem unaware of it, or aren’t focused on it? Is that good or bad?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think those people/friends are unconcerned with their outer beauty?

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think God is OK with others admiring our beauty? Why or why not?

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Is God concerned about our beauty? Why or why not?

  7. Read the following passage:

      1 Peter 3:1-8 (NLT)

      In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They will be won over 2 by watching your pure, godly behavior. 3 Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 That is the way the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 6 For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, when she called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do. 7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. If you don't treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard. 8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What does Peter say about outward beauty in verse 3? How difficult is that to abide by today in our culture?

  9. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What is the “beauty that comes from within” that Peter talks about here, in verse 4? Give a few examples of it.

  10. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: We all know that outer beauty fades, but according to verse 4, this beauty that comes from within is “unfading.” Why is that?

  11. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: If you were to rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 based on the “beauty that comes from within,” what would you be?

  12. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Very specifically, how can you increase your beauty that comes from within?

Wrap Up:
Everybody knows that we live in a world that’s totally consumed by outer beauty. We spend literally billions of dollars each year trying to make sure that our image attracts the eyes of the opposite sex. Physical attraction isn’t wrong by any means; in fact, it’s one of the many gifts of God. But it’s possible to use our beauty in the wrong way…and it’s possible to put way too much emphasis on our beauty.

I think that’s why I like the message behind One Direction’s song: you’re beautiful and you don’t even know it. You’re beautiful, and you’re not trying to flaunt it. You’re beautiful, but you’re not focused on it. That’s pretty refreshing isn’t it? Hopefully we all know a few people like that. Hopefully, we’re trying to become people like that.

The best reason to do so is because that’s what God would have us be. He wants us to focus on the beauty that comes from within. At least, that’s what the passage from 1 Peter tells us. Peter painstakingly describes that beauty as “unfading” and says that it pleases God. So, right there is enough reason to pursue that kind of beauty and attitude.

But let me give you another reason to pursue inner beauty. It comes from Proverbs 31:29-31, and this is what it says:
    Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Outer beauty is “fleeting.” It will one day go away no matter how beautiful you are right now. One day – hopefully many years from now – we’ll all be riddled with wrinkles, sagging all over the place, and even graying and/or balding. But the Bible says it’s possible to make all that beautiful! The way to do that is to focus on and pursue the beauty that comes from within.

That’s the beauty that God is most interested in! That’s the beauty that pleases Him.


Close in Prayer

Written by David R Smith


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