Sixteen – Thomas Rhett
Main Point: Chasing pleasures out of our reach is an empty pursuit. We can find joy and satisfaction in each season of our lives.
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.
- Twenty-eight year old Thomas Rhett hails from Valdosta, Georgia and grew up around country singers. Thanks to his father, singer and songwriter Rhett Akins, Thomas got to pal around with Tim McGraw and Brooks & Dunn as a child.
- At the age of twenty, Thomas dropped out of college to chase after a career in music. After co-writing a song with Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett signed a recording contract and has been making music ever since.
- Rhett has released three studio albums with his most recent album Life Changes being dropped in September of 2017.
- 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 – Say Something Like This: The song Sixteen comes from the male singers perspective and looks back at being sixteen, eighteen, and twenty-one years old. The sincere sentiment of the song is seen as he realizes at age twenty-five how great sixteen really was. He captures the rush we all have to increase our responsibility before eventually getting to a point where we wish we had less of it.
The Music Video: The music can be viewed for free at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPYRBsGMKOU
Song Lyrics – Sixteen
“Take a left here, boy, take it slow
Don’t get distracted by that radio”
I just rolled my eyes and I said, “Daddy, I know
I’m fifteen, I ain’t green like some ol’ ten year old”
What I wouldn’t give to be sixteen, wild and free
Cruisin’ up and down Main in my F-150
Roll the windows down, bass too loud from this burnt CD
I’ll be right where I wanna be when I’m sixteen, sixteen, yeah
Now that I can drive, finally feel alive, but I got this curfew
Sneakin’ in late, smelling like my girlfriend’s perfume
People talkin’ ’bout college and knowledge and that’s alright
But all I’m thinkin’ ’bout is an unsupervised Saturday night
What I wouldn’t give to be eighteen, wild and free
Buzzin’ off a can of that Grizzly wintergreen
Lookin’ old enough to pull off this fake ID
I’ll be right where I wanna be when I’m eighteen, eighteen
I’m old enough to smoke, I’m old enough to vote
But they turn me away when I go to the Cotton-Eyed Joe
They say the grass is always greener, and I believe that’s right
But my friends are off to Vegas, and they’re leavin’ me behind
What I wouldn’t give to be twenty one, wild and free
Open up a cold one and drink it legally
Chase a bunch of girls, go see the world, let my wild streak run
I’ll be right where I wanna be when I’m twenty one, twenty one
Woah, when I’m twenty one
Yeah, when I’m twenty one, it’ll be alright
Yeah, it’ll all be alright when I’m twenty one
Now I’m twenty five, and I’m drinkin’ wine with my wife at home
Got a couple dogs and a couple songs on the radio
And we sit around, and we laugh about how we used to be
When all we cared about was turning sixteen
Three Questions to Ask in the Car (with thoughts to dive deeper with your kids):
Q: What age are you most looking forward to and why?
A: Discover more about the mind of your child and how they view growing up, and if there is something specific they are anticipating as they get older.
Q: What do you think about the things he wants at every age?
A: Have a discussion about the freedoms he desires and see where it goes. He wants to drive, wants freedom to go see his girlfriend late at night, wants to drink, wants to party. The goal here is to see what they bring up and go where the conversation leads.
Q: How do you think someone can find contentment at whatever age they are?
A: Depending how they answer this, you can ask they why it’s hard to find contentment and turn the conversation toward life being seasonal and God having things for us and wanting to do work in us during every season.
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 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 looks at the pursuits of a teenager and then a young adult. The recurring theme is wanting to grow up faster so he can enjoy pleasures that are currently out of reach. When he gets to twenty-five, he looks back and sees the simplicity of life when he only cared about wanting to turn sixteen. Though this song has a fun tone, it provokes some discussion about being able to find joy and satisfaction in each season of our lives.
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What is something you look forward to being able to do when you are older?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What are some things he is chasing after in this song? Do you think they represent what people typically want at each age?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think most teenagers want to be a different age than they are? Explain your answer.
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What are some things people chase after in their lives that you would say are empty pursuits?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think people struggle to find joy and satisfaction in the season of life they find themselves in?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How do you think God views these milestone ages (16,18,21) in our lives? What do you think He wants from us at each age?
Read the following passage:
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;I refused my heart no pleasure.My heart took delight in all my labor,and this was the reward for all my toil.Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had doneand what I had toiled to achieve,everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;nothing was gained under the sun.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: First read Ecclesiastes 2:1-11. In light of the first nine verses, what do you think Solomon (the author) wants us to know in verses ten and eleven?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Have you ever thought if you had more stuff (riches, entertainment, experiences) that you would be happier?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What can we learn from Solomon’s experience?
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think it’s easy for us to chase after things in this world that are temporary? How has Jesus challenged us toward something more?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. What do you think the Bible means when it says there is a time for everything?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think it looks like for a person to find joy and satisfaction in the season of life they are in?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Are you a patient or impatient person? What role does patience have in finding joy and satisfaction in each season?
- ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think Solomon would say to teenagers today?
Wrap Up – Say Something Like This: During this time we looked at Thomas Rhett’s song Sixteen and talked about the things we chase as teenagers. We talked about empty pursuits and how easy it is to get our eyes focused on things that won’t last. When you look at your own life right now, in the season that you are walking through, what are some things you are pursuing that you know will not truly satisfy you? Are there things you need to surrender to God? Do you need to refocus your efforts toward things that will last?
(Pause and give them a quiet moment to pray silently.)
Solomon had everything anyone could ever want. He had riches, he had relationships, he had power. He found it all to be empty and meaningless. Solomon figured out the secret to being content was to recognize life is seasonal and to find joy and satisfaction in each season of life – and to find that in things that will last beyond each season. Despite spending so much of his life chasing empty things, he eventually realized what really mattered – the pursuit of God and the things God has called him toward. What do you think God has called you toward in the season of life you are in right now? What are some things you can be thankful for in your life right now? Take some time and list some of those things to God.
(Pause and give them a few moments to pray silently.)
Chasing pleasures out of our reach is an empty pursuit. We can find joy and satisfaction in each season of our lives. This starts with recognizing there are things to be thankful for in every season of our lives, and there is much to find joy and satisfaction in. Let’s be people who reject the pursuits that only bring temporary satisfaction and chase after things that will last far beyond this season and this life. Let’s be people who can find what God is doing in each season of life and allow Him to work in our lives and through us. Let’s lay aside the empty pursuits and truly find joy and satisfaction in each season of our lives.
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