High Hopes – Panic! at the Disco
Main Point: When we put our hope in what lasts forever, we can move past the struggles that last just a little while.
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.
- In 2005, four high school friends from suburban Las Vegas formed the band Panic! at the Disco.
- Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz signed them to his new label Decaydance Records before they had ever performed a single live show. Their debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out was released that same year and catapulted them to instant stardom.
- The band released its second album in 2008 before two of the members split over creative differences in 2009. Despite the setback, Panic! at the Disco carried on, releasing their sixth studio album in 2018.
- They are well known for changing their musical style from album to album, proving their evolving talent as musicians. Their most recent album Pray for the Wicked debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200.
- 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: High Hopes is the highest charting song in Panic! at the Disco’s history, having reached the sixth spot in the Billboard Hot 100. Lead man Brendon Urie, who is the only original member of Panic! who is still with the band, co-wrote this song with several other songwriters. Urie said he wrote this song because he wanted the world to know about the dreams he had as a child to make it big in the music industry. According to him, his achieving of this dream of his is really what the song is all about. Using the bands Twitter account, Urie further elaborated on his motivation behind the song.
The Music Video: The music video can be viewed for free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPXIgEAGe4U
Song Lyrics: High Hopes
Always had high, high hopes (High, high hopes)
Three Questions to Ask in the Car (with thoughts to dive deeper with your kids):
Q: What do you think he’s trying to say in this song?
A: The song is about having a big dream and going after it as opposed to setting the bar low for yourself because you are afraid to fail.
Q: What do you think it means to have high hopes as a Christian?
A: This is an opportunity to turn the discussion to having an eternal perspective, and to talk about what it means to put your hope in Christ.
Q: What do you think heaven will be like?
A: Consider reading Revelation 21 and seeing what the Bible says about heaven. This is an opportunity to have discussion about what heaven will be like and perhaps to engage their perception and possible misconceptions about eternity.
Where to Take It from Here: Wherever it feels natural (no pun intended!) 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 HERE for a helpful article from our “Parenting Help” page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today’s Teens.
Transition Statement – Say Something Like This: This song paints the picture that having high hopes was an important part of the songwriters ascension to stardom. He overcame his fear of failure, and was willing to stumble along the way. When he finally aimed high he eventually succeeded in his dream, which was to make it big in the music industry. As a follower of Jesus, you have been invited to set your eyes on something that lasts forever, and when you do that you can move past the struggles that last a little while. Let’s talk about that that means in our lives.
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think it means to have high hopes?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think the songwriters high hope to make it big in the music industry was a big enough dream? Explain why you think the way you do.
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What are some reasons we tend to set our hopes on lesser things instead of aiming high?
- ASK A FEWFAMILY MEMBERS: The song says, Mama said don’t give up, it’s a little complicated. Who are some people in your life that always push you and encourage you to have high hopes?
- ASK A FEWFAMILY MEMBERS: What does it means to set your hope on Jesus? Does it matter what you put your hope in? Explain why you think the way you do.
- ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS:Describe what would be different in your spiritual life if you aimed higher than you are right now.
Read the following passage:
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Let’s read Philippians 3:1-14 together. What do you think Paul (the author of Philippians) considers himself to not have taken hold of?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In Philippians 3:4-6, Paul writes about some reasons he has to put his confidence in himself. In verse 13, he writes to forget what is behind. Do you think sometimes we need to let go of the good things in our past to move forward? Why or why not? What does that look like to actually do?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Explain what it means to “strain” toward what is ahead, and how that can be lived out as a follower of Jesus.
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think the prize is that God has called believers to press on toward?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-29. Paul clearly had some struggles along the way. Based on Philippians 3:13-14, how did Paul keep it together through these struggles?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How can the knowledge of heaven help us when we go through rough times?
- ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS: What is something in your life that will still matter a thousand years from now?
Wrap Up – Say Something Like This: During this time we looked at the song High Hopes by Panic at the Disco. We explored what it means to have high hopes, and asked about the importance of what you put your hope in. When you consider that many things we chase after are things that won’t last, it probably makes you think about whether or not they should get the attention in our lives that we usually give. What are some things that you’ve been putting your hope in that you need to surrender to God? Take a few moments and pray through your current focus, inviting God to set your eyes on Him.
(Pause and give them a quiet moment to reflect on this.)
Sometimes we don’t pursue God above all else because life can be difficult. We get busy, chase after shiny things in our lives, and go through rough circumstances. The thing we often miss is when we put our hope in Him – that hope never fades and never disappoints.
Romans 5:3-5 says
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
The hope of knowing God now and forever, the hope of being with Him in heaven, when we think of our struggles in light of this – we can get perspective on the things in our lives that will only last a little while. Your best days are ahead of you if you put your hope in Jesus, the one who will last forever. There is always hope of things turning around because you have the promise of heaven. Take a moment and reflect on this with God in prayer.
(Pause and give them a moment to pray silently.)
Following Jesus gives us the highest hope that this world can ever know – and that is the hope of knowing God and being with Him forever. As you chase after things in this world, let’s be people who set their eyes on what lasts forever while we move past the struggles that last just a little while. Remember loved one, if you know Jesus – the best is yet to come.
CLOSE IN PRAYER
Rob Chagdes is one of the pastors at Prairie Lakes Church in northern Iowa. In the years since he met Jesus as a sixteen year old, Rob has spent his life working to raise up the next generation to love God and invite others into His unending story. He spends most of his free time with his wife Leslie, their three amazing daughters, and their energetic dog Jedi. You can reach Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org