Music Discussions

Better Now

betternow

Main Point:  Regret can weigh you down, but a new perspective can help you move on.

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, Spotify, 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.
  • Austin Richard Post, better known as 23-year-old recording artist Post Malone rose onto the scene as a twenty-year-old when he released his hit single White Iverson.
  • The song garnered over a million plays on SoundCloud the month it was uploaded, which led to Malone signing a record deal
  • While it’s likely many would not consider Post Malone a role model or the poster child for good wholesome music, the purpose of this discussion is to guide you into what we hope will be meaningful conversation about the content of this song. In other words—yes, we agree that Post isn’t a positive influence on your kid. But sadly, most kids are hearing his music routinely, so this discussion is merely a springboard for dialogue about his content.
  • 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 – You Say This:  Better Now is a catchy song about Malone’s ex-girlfriend who goes from being close with his family to never speaking to his friends.  Post sings about there being nothing he can do as he deals with the regret from this lost relationship.  This song was so popular that Taylor Swift told Malone she was jealous of it and called the song “insane.”

The Music Video:  The music video can be viewed for free at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSVgScLcykQ

Please note, at the time of this discussion, there is no official video for Better Now.  Considering that, we will focus on the song and use a clean version of the audio that has been uploaded to YouTube.

Song Lyrics:

You probably think that you are better now, better now
You only say that ’cause I’m not around, not around
You know I never meant to let you down, let you down
Woulda gave you anything, woulda gave you everything

You know I say that I am better now, better now
I only say that ’cause you’re not around, not around
You know I never meant to let you down, let you down
Woulda gave you anything, woulda gave you everything

I did not believe that it would end, no
Everything came second to the Benzo
You’re not even speaking to my friends, no
You knew all my uncles and my aunts though

Twenty candles, blow ’em out and open your eyes
We were looking forward to the rest of our lives
Used to keep my picture posted by your bedside
Now it’s in your dresser with the socks you don’t like

And I’m rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

With my brothers like it’s Jonas, Jonas
Drinkin’ Henny and I’m tryna forget
But I can’t get this sh** outta my head

You probably think that you are better now, better now
You only say that ’cause I’m not around, not around
You know I never meant to let you down, let you down
Woulda gave you anything, woulda gave you everything
You know I say that I am better now, better now
I only say that ’cause you’re not around, not around
You know I never meant to let you down, let you down
Woulda gave you anything, woulda gave you everything (oh wow)

I seen you with your other dude
He seemed like he was pretty cool
I was so broken over you
Life it goes on, what can you do?

I just wonder what it’s gonna take
Another foreign or a bigger chain
Because no matter how my life has changed
I keep on looking back on better days

You probably think that you are better now, better now
You only say that ’cause I’m not around, not around
You know I never meant to let you down, let you down
Woulda gave you anything, woulda gave you everything

You know I say that I am better now, better now
I only say that ’cause you’re not around, not around
You know I never meant to let you down, let you down
Woulda gave you anything, woulda gave you everything (oh wow)

I promise
I swear to you I’ll be okay
You’re only the love of my life

You probably think that you are better now, better now
You only say that ’cause I’m not around, not around
You know I never meant to let you down, let you down

Woulda gave you anything, woulda gave you everything
You know I say that I am better now, better now
I only say that ’cause you’re not around, not around
You know I never meant to let you down, let you down
Woulda gave you anything, woulda gave you everything (oh wow)

Three Questions to Ask in the Car (with thoughts to dive deeper with your kids):

Q:  Is there something that you regret that it hard to let go of?
A: The goal here is to better know your child by understanding a regret that might plague them or at least be hard to move on from.

Q: Is there a time you can think of when your perspective on something changed?
A: Here you can introduce the idea of perspective and guide them to understand that it is normal and healthy for perspective to change over time.

Q: In the song, Post Malone sings I keep looking back on better days.  Do you think your best days are behind you or ahead of you?  Why do you think that way?
A: We want our children to know their best days are ahead because in Jesus we have hope.  This is an opportunity to lead them in that direction of thinking.

Where to Take It from Here:  Wherever it feels natural.  If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful!  (There is a guide just after that 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 HEREfor a helpful article from our “Parenting Help” page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today’s Teens.

Transitional Statement – Say something like this:  You’re not even speaking to my friends, no, You knew all my uncles and my aunts though.”  Malone is struggling with the reality that this girl he sings about was close with his family, but now doesn’t even speak to his friends.  He sings; “Woulda gave you anything, woulda gave you everything” showing his regret as he looks back at the relationship, wishing he was able to control things to produce a different outcome.  As he processes both the reality of the loss of this relationship as well as wondering what he could have done differently, he presses into the idea of regret.  How should we approach regret?  Is there something we can do when we look back and struggle with wishing we could have done things differently?  Let’s take some time and talk about that.

Discussion Questions:

  • ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What kinds of things does Post Malone do as he attempts to forget about the relationship he has lost?
  • ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think it’s easier to “look back on better days” than it is to look forward to them?
  • ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Regret has been called by some a “useless emotion.”  Do you agree with this?  Why or why not?
  • ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you suppose is the difference between regretting something, and learning from things that happened in your past?
  • ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Would anyone be willing to share about a time when they were weighed down by regret?  What happened, and how have you dealt with this regret?
  • ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS: How would you advise Post Malone to move on from the heartbreak he has experienced?

Read the following passage:
Hebrews 12:1-2 
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.  For the joy set before him, he endured the cross…

  • ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think the author means when he says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses?  What does this mean for us when we feel alone?
  • ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  This verse tells us to throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us.  This seems to mean sometimes there are things we need to throw off that are not sin, but are dragging us down.  Give some examples of this in your own life or the world around you.
  • ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  What’s the difference between running a race, and running a race with perseverance?
  • ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What are some things we fix our eyes on instead of fixing them on Jesus?
  • ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  How can having a new perspective impact how you approach your struggle with regret?
  • ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS:  Why do you think Jesus was able to endure the hardship of the cross, especially knowing He had the ability to stop it at any moment?

Wrap Up: 
During this time, we listened to Post Malone’s song Better Now.  We looked at the idea of regret and how it can weigh us down.  As you look back on our discussion, are there some regrets that have been weighing you down that you want to take a moment and release to God? 

(Pause and give them a quiet moment to reflect on this.)

You and I are not alone as we deal with the hard things in life.  We are surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses who can attest that they have been there and have made it through the hardships.  Because of what Jesus has done for us, we can let go of what weighs us down and we can push forward with our eyes fixed on Him. It’s far too easy to get our eyes focused on ourselves and our circumstances which can lead to discouragement in our lives.  Take a moment to ask God to fix your eyes on Him above all else.

(Pause and give them a moment to pray silently.)

Regret can weigh you down, but a new perspective can help you move on.  That new perspective comes when we throw off the things that are holding us back and fix our eyes on Jesus.  Let’s close our time in prayer, asking God to continue to help us see that He is the one who holds everything together, and we can trust Him as we press forward.

CLOSE IN PRAYER

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Rob Chagdes

Rob Chagdes

ROB CHAGDES had his life interrupted by God as a sixteen year old. In the years since he met Jesus Rob has devoted his life to working with students —for two decades now— with the goal of helping teenagers and their parents walk with Jesus in a personal way. His passion is to raise up the next generation of students and youth workers who love God and love others. Rob and his wife Leslie live in northern Iowa with their three amazing daughters.

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