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The Monster
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
01/21/2014

Dynamic ImageThe Song: The Monster

Main Point: We all struggle with our fallen nature, and Jesus Christ is the only solution to the destructive 'monster' that lives inside us.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following information 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 like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.

  • This song is a collaboration between Eminem and Rihanna, two of the biggest names in the music business. The tune features the raps and rhymes of Eminem as well as the powerful vocals of Rihanna.

  • The song is about how Eminem deals with his struggles in life, what he calls “the monster.” Instead of running away from it or trying to overcome it, he actually befriends it.

  • 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:
We are all familiar with Eminem, and Rihanna, too. In fact, the whole world is familiar with both of them...if for no other reason than this song of theirs went #1. “The Monster” is the song we’re going to discuss today. Take a look at the music video and ponder the lyrics, then we’ll talk about the underlying message of the song.


The Music Video:
The song can be found on YouTube at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHkozMIXZ8w



Song Lyrics: "The Monster”


I'm friends with the monster
That's under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You're trying to save me
Stop holding your breath
And you think I'm crazy
Yeah, you think I'm crazy (crazy)

I wanted the fame, but not the cover of Newsweek
Oh well, guess beggers can't be choosey
Wanted to receive attention for my music
Wanted to be left alone in public excuse me
Been wanting my cake, And eat it too
And wanting it both ways
Fame made me a balloon cause my ego inflated
When I blew seep and it was confusing
Cause all I wanted to do is be the Bruce Lee of loose leaf
Abused ink, used it as a tool when I blew steam
Hit the lottery (oh wee)
With what I gave up to get was bittersweet
It was like winning a huge meet
Ironic 'cause I think I'm getting so huge I need a shrink
I'm beginning to lose sleep: one sheep, two sheep
Going cuckoo and cookey as Kool Keith
But I'm actually weirder than you think
Cause I'm...

I'm friends with the monster
That's under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You're trying to save me
Stop holding your breath
And you think I'm crazy
Yeah, you think I'm crazy
Well, that's nothing
oh oh oh oh
Well, that's nothing
oh oh oh oh

Now I ain't much of a poet
But I know somebody once told me to seize the moment
And don't squander it
Cause you never know when it could all be over
Tomorrow so I keep conjuring
Sometimes I wonder where these thoughts spawn from
(Yeah, ponder it, do you want this? there's no wonder you're losing your mind the way you're wandering?)
I think you've been wandering off down yonder and stumbled onto Jeff VanVonderen
Cause I needed an interventionist to intervene between me and this monster
And save me from myself and all this conflict
Cause the very thing that I love is killing me and I can't conquer it
My OCD is conking me in the head
Keep knocking, nobody's home, I'm sleepwalking
I'm just relaying what the voice in my head saying
Don't shoot the messenger, I'm just friends with the...

I'm friends with the monster
That's under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You're trying to save me
Stop holding your breath
And you think I'm crazy
Yeah, you think I'm crazy
Well, that's nothing
oh oh oh oh
Well, that's nothing
oh oh oh oh

Call me crazy, but I had this vision
One day that, I'd walk amongst you a regular civilian
But, until then,
drums get killed and I'm Coming straight at
Emcees, blood get spilled and I
Take it back to the days that, I get on a Dre track
Give every kid who got played at
Pumped the feeling
and sh*t to say back
To the kids who played 'em
I ain't here to save the f**king children
But if one kid out of a hundred million
Who are going through a struggle feels and it relates that's great
It's payback, Russell Wilson falling way back
In the draft, turn nothing into something still, can make that
Straw in the gold chump I will spend
Rumpelstiltskin in a hay stack
Maybe I need a straightjacket, face facts
I am nuts for real, but I'm okay with that
It's nothing, I'm still friends with the...

I'm friends with the monster
That's under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You're trying to save me
Stop holding your breath
And you think I'm crazy
Yeah, you think I'm crazy
I'm friends with the monster
That's under my bed
(Get along with)
Get along with the voices inside of my head
(You're tryna)
You're trying to save me
Stop holding your breath
And you think I'm crazy
Yeah, you think I'm crazy
Well, that's nothing


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

Q: What do you think Eminem is referring to when he sings about “the monster”?

A: He was talking about dealing with the struggles that have come into his life as a result of his international stardom. He was hearing voices, losing sleep, and beginning to think he even needed a shrink.

Q: Do you think it’s a good idea to befriend the monsters that plague us in life?
A: Probably not. We don’t need monsters attacking us in life. Instead of making friends with the monster, we need to make friends with Jesus. Then, we have Someone in our lives who can overcome our monsters.

Q: What are some of the monsters that your friends are dealing with?
A: Pornography. Greed. Gossip. Unforgiveness. Doubt.


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:

As you have probably noticed in the song, Eminem seems to be struggling with what he calls “The Monster.” For him, the monster takes several forms in life. But one thing rings true over and over again: he’s befriended the monster instead of overcoming it. All of us can probably relate to Eminem’s problem. We all have consistent struggles and the Bible makes it clear that our struggle is with our fallen nature, and Jesus Christ is the only solution to the destructive 'monster' that lives inside us. Let’s talk about that for a few minutes to see how we can address the monsters in our lives.

More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Before we dive in, everybody take a second to share what you were afraid of when you were little.

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think Eminem chose a ‘therapy session’ setting for this music video?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think most people have a “monster” inside them that they are dealing with? Why or why not?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What advice would you give Eminem for dealing with the monster inside him?

  5. Read the following passage:

      Romans 7:18-25 (The Message)

      If the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

      It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

      I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

      The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What connections are there between the “monster” that Eminem talks about and the struggles that Paul talks about?

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In what ways can you relate to the following statement: “Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time”?

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Based on this passage, what do you think Paul would say about becoming “friends with the monster”?

  9. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Very specifically, how can our relationship with Jesus Christ give us power over our sin nature?

  10. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How does our “friendship with Jesus” impact our “friendship with the monster”?

  11. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What is one “monster” you are going to attack with Jesus this week?

Wrap Up:
“The Monster” is an interesting tune, to say the least. For starters, it gives us a glimpse inside the mind of a couple of megastars, but it’s also an honest assessment of the fear and turmoil that’s brewing inside them every single day.

Of course, that makes us think about the monsters we have hiding under our beds or in our minds or in our hearts. We talked about them and I hope you learned this: every monster can be overcome by the power of Jesus, but no monster can be overcome by our power alone. That’s why it’s so important for us to place our full hope and trust in Jesus.

Until we die and see Jesus, we will suffer from our sin nature. That’s OK, really, as long as we don’t give into it. We have to keep fighting our sin nature through the power Jesus gives us. We can never just give up and befriend the monster that lives within us...because he wants us dead and suffering. We have to follow Jesus and trust Him.

Since all of us know one another really well, I want us to end this discussion by taking a moment to pray for someone in our family. How about we each just pray for the person on our left? Let’s ask God to give them the strength to face their monster with His power.


Close in Prayer

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