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Hello
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
12/09/2015

Dynamic ImageThe Song: Hello

Main Point: When we’ve caused someone pain, we must do everything in our power to make it right.

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 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.

  • Hello is the latest single from British singing sensation, Adele. The song is about the artist’s attempt to apologize to a significant other for breaking his heart years earlier. The song has a sad feel of loss to it, and it’s delivered in Adele’s powerful manner, stirring emotions in many who hear it.

  • The song is currently ranked #1 on the Hot 100 chart at Billboard. The music video has been seen almost a half a billion times, or as some put it, 1.6 million times per hour on YouTube. In other words, it’s an international hit.

  • Hello has been critically acclaimed by just about everyone in the music industry. The song – and its accompanying video – paint a moving picture of the singer doing her best to try and make up for past mistakes. Because it’s totally clean, it makes for a perfect discussion starter to talk about how to make amends with others.

  • 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:
The song is currently ranked #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The music video has been seen on YouTube almost a half a billion times. Yep, we’ve heard Adele’s Hello, along with the rest of the world. It’s a fairly stirring ballad by the British singer about how she’s tried to reach out to someone she hurt in the past. She admits in the lyrics, which you have in front of you, that she broke his heart and she just wants him to know she’s sorry. But the apology doesn’t seem to go the way she wanted it to. That adds even more regret to Adele’s heart. Take a listen to the song as we watch the music video and refer to the lyrics as need be.


The Music Video:
The video can be found online at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQHsXMglC9A



The Song’s Lyrics:

Hello, it's me
I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time's supposed to heal ya, but I ain't done much healing

Hello, can you hear me?
I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

There's such a difference between us
And a million miles

Hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart
Anymore

Hello, how are you?
It's so typical of me to talk about myself, I'm sorry
I hope that you're well
Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happened?

It's no secret that the both of us
Are running out of time

So hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, anymore

Hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart
Anymore


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

Q: What was the main message in Adele’s song?

A: It’s pretty clear that she wants to apologize to her significant other for something she did that hurt him in the past. She’s just calling him up to say she’s sorry.

Q: How would you describe Adele’s attitude in this song? How can you tell?
A: She seems broken. She seems genuinely upset. She seems remorseful, and driven to reconcile the relationship.

Q: Why do you think it meant so much to Adele to try and apologize?
A: She doesn’t want him to hurt anymore. And she doesn’t want to hurt anymore. She wants there to be a peace between them that hasn’t existed in a long time.

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:
Adele’s song tells a pretty compelling story. Regret and loss and heartbreak and remorse drip from almost every line. Adele is trying to call up someone whom she hurt in an earlier part of her life – a romantic partner – but her apology goes unheard for various reasons. It seems as though she’s left without any satisfaction, and her ex will never hear about her attempt to take responsibility for her actions. You and I have something in common with Adele: we all hurt others from time to time. Whether we mean to or not, and it’s always worse when we mean to, sometimes we trample on people’s feelings. When that happens, we must do what Adele tried to do: make it right. In fact, when we cause others pain, we have to do everything in our power to make it right. Let’s talk about that now.

More Discussion Questions:
  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share your name and whether Adele is your kind of music or not.

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Based on the song’s lyrics, how does Adele feel about what she did in the past? How does the other person feel about what she did in the past?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In an interview about her album, Adele said, “My last record was a break-up record, and if I had to label this one, I would call it a make-up record. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did. 25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realizing. And I’m sorry it took so long but, you know, life happened.” Do you think most people wait too long to make things right with others? Why?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What’s harder for you: just living with the burden of a broken relationship or trying to seek forgiveness in that relationship? Why?

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Have you ever tried to apologize for something you did that hurt someone else? Can you briefly share what happened?

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How does a broken relationship between you and another person impact the relationship you have with God?

  7. Read the following passage:

      Read Matthew 5:21-26 (NIV)

      21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, 'is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. 25 "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think Jesus gave us so many instructions for dealing with the hurt we cause one another?

  9. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think Jesus’ teaching in this passage is too stringent or tough? Why or why not?

  10. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What was one of the benefits Jesus gave for seeking reconciliation quickly?

  11. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Are there other benefits to seeking reconciliation between you and the person you hurt? If so, what are they?

  12. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Jesus never says that reconciliation is easy. Why is it so difficult to try and restore a broken relationship with someone?

  13. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Is there a person in your life that you need to go to with an apology? If so, who?

  14. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: How will this passage and the teachings of Jesus impact your conversations and friendships this week?

Wrap Up:
Adele learned a lesson the hard way: waiting too long to say you’re sorry won’t bring about the healing that you or the other person wants or needs. The truth was all over her lyrics and video: she shouldn’t have waited so long to try and make amends.

I hope that you’ll learn a lesson from her mistake.

I have no doubt that each and every single one of us have upset or hurt someone else in our lives. In fact, we’ve done that to each other in this very house. Sadly, many of us just walk away from a broken relationship instead of trying to fix it. But that’s more costly than we understand.

For starters, it costs us a friend or a loved one. If we’ve hurt someone, the only decent thing to do is to apologize…and quickly! But if we don’t, we jeopardize the relationship to such an extent that sometimes the relationship just comes to an end.

But there are other expenses. Jesus tells us that God isn’t pleased with us when we try to live for Him knowing that we’ve hurt others. Who knew that a broken relationship with someone else negatively impacted our relationship with Him! Jesus tells us to hurry up when it comes to reconciliation, not to waste time. He tells us to do it thoroughly, but quickly.

There are tons more reasons why we should apologize to others when we’ve hurt them, including the fact that it’s just the right thing to do. But it helps us to avoid regret and shame, as well.

So, who do you need to apologize to? Chances are good that each of us in here need to have a tough conversation with someone else. Yes, I said “tough” conversation, because the truth is, it isn’t easy to bring about reconciliation with others. But it’s always worth it.


Close in Prayer

Written by David R Smith

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