Music Discussions

Underdog

underdog

Underdog – Alicia Keys

Main Point: Through Jesus, God can bring lasting change in our lives that goes far beyond our circumstances.

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, Spotify, and Apple Music, 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.
  • New York born Alicia Augello-Cook (professionally known as Alicia Keys) started music at a young age. From piano lessons at the age of seven to graduating from the Professional Performance Arts School at the age of sixteen, Keys signed a record deal right after graduation.
  • After four weeks at Columbia University, she decided to go all-in with music and start creating albums. Her first album Songs in A Minor went platinum five times over, and sold more than 12 million copies.
  • Her seventh studio album Alicia will be released in early 2020.
  • In July 2010, Keys married hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz. They welcomed their first child together in October 2010, a son named Egypt Daoud Dean. In December 2014, they welcomed their second son, Genesis Ali Dean.

Introducing the Song – Say Something Like This: Keys song Underdog is an inspiring tune about overcoming challenges. In the song, Keys sings about things from homelessness and discrimination to single motherhood and military deployment. The song is intended to motivate people to not to let certain circumstances keep you from pursuing our passions and achieving our goals, no matter how unlikely the odds may seem. Keys says about the song; “Some people may think of the word underdog as a negative word, but I see it as a powerful word representing people who may be underestimated and yet still rise to the challenge and exceed expectations…we’ve all been in a place in our lives where we’ve had to defy the odds. It’s never easy.”

The Music Video: The music video can be viewed for free at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izyZLKIWGiA

Song Lyrics: Underdog

She was walking in the street, looked up and noticed
He was nameless, he was homeless
She asked him his name and told him what hers was
He gave her a story about a life
With a glint in his eye and a corner of a smile
One conversation, a simple moment
The things that change us if we notice
When we look up, sometimes

They said I would never make it
But I was built to break the mold
The only dream that I’ve been chasing is my own

So I sing a song for the hustlers trading at the bus stop
Single mothers waiting on a cheque to come
Young teachers, student doctors
Sons on the frontline knowing they don’t get to run
This goes out to the underdog
Keep on keeping at what you love
You’ll find that someday soon enough
You will rise up, rise up, yeah

She’s riding in a taxi back to the kitchen
Talking to the driver about his wife and his children
On the run from a country where they put you in prison
For being a woman and speaking your mind
She looked in his eyes in the mirror and he smiled
One conversation, a single moment
The things that change us if we notice
When we look up, sometimes

They said I would never make it
But I was built to break the mold
The only dream that I’ve been chasing is my own

So I sing a song for the hustlers trading at the bus stop
Single mothers waiting on a cheque to come
Young teachers, student doctors
Sons on the frontline knowing they don’t get to run
This goes out to the underdog
Keep on keeping at what you love
You’ll find that someday soon enough
You will rise up, rise up, yeah

Everybody rise up
You’re gonna rise, yeah

I sing a song for the hustlers trading at the bus stop
Single mothers waiting on a cheque to come
Young teachers, student doctors
Sons on the frontline knowing they don’t get to run
This goes out to the underdog
Keep on keeping at what you love
You’ll find that someday soon enough
You will rise up, rise up, yeah

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

Q: Why do you people tend to root for the underdog?
A: Simple question, gets them talking and can open the door to how they view the world and how they see themselves and others

Q: What do you think it means to rise up?
A: Starts a conversation about overcoming, and opens the door to easy follow up questions about how knowing God can help us rise up against adversity in our lives.

Q: If you could bring change to anything in this world, what would you do?
A: Gets to the heart of their passion, opens up conversation to their perspective on injustice or brokenness in the world. Depending on the flow of the conversation, you can follow up by asking the same question but asking what they would change in themselves.

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 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.

Transition Statement – Say Something Like This: This song is about overcoming challenges and not letting our circumstances determine our direction. It’s ultimately about changing the course of our lives and defying the odds. You are sure to feel inspired when you hear it, and it raises the question of how we can produce lasting change in our lives. How can we overcome the challenges we face from our circumstances and beyond? Does God offer anything that can take us beyond motivation and inspiration?

Discussion Questions:

  1. ASK YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY: What comes to mind when you hear the word “underdog?”
  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How does this response to a homeless person differ from how you might engage them? She was walking in the street, looked up and noticed, he was nameless, he was homeless, she asked him his name and told him what hers was. Talk about why we usually don’t respond this way when we interact with a homeless person.
  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Part of the chorus goes: “This goes out to the underdog, keep on keeping at what you love, you’ll find that someday soon enough, you will rise up, rise up, yeah.” What comes to mind when you hear these words? Do you believe they are based on truth? Explain why you think the way you do.
  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think Keys means when she sings about rising up?
  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: It’s been said that direction – not intention – determines destination. That means the steps we take will determine where we go, and what we intend is far less significant. In what ways have you been more about intention in your life rather than actually taking steps in the direction you need to go?
  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think we tend to value inspiration so much? What are some things that have inspired you? Talk about how you’ve been inspired and what happened after that inspiration.
  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: If we were honest, each of us has some circumstances in our lives that we’d like to see be different. What do you think keeps us in those circumstances instead of rising up and bringing some sort of change in our lives?

Read the following passage:

1 Peter 1:18-19
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Read 1 Peter 1:13-21. Who do you think is the intended audience of these verses? Share a few things that stand out as you read them.
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What does the word perishable mean? What are some perishable things we might look to in order to bring change in our lives?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think Peter means when he writes about the empty way of life handed down by our forefathers?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What does it mean to be redeemed from something? Give an example of a way you’ve seen redemption happen.
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: According to these verses, what brings true and lasting change? What do you think that means for you and I?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think we consider the power of the cross beyond the way it helps us come to Jesus and be saved? How does Jesus death on the cross continue to help fuel us as we live out our faith?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: If a follower of Jesus has been redeemed from the empty way of life they were headed for, what should this mean about who God says they are? How should this impact them when they face challenging circumstances?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How can a follower of Jesus stay “motivated” and “inspired” to remember who they are in Christ when they face challenges?

Wrap Up – Say Something Like This:  If we are honest, we love songs that motivate us to action, songs that inspire us toward greatness. For some, this will be one of those songs. Alicia Keys sings with passion and purpose as she reminds us that there is always hope, no matter how much of an underdog you might be. During our time together, we talked about going beyond that motivation and inspiration and grabbing hold of our identity in Christ – and through Him we can overcome obstacles and challenges. Perhaps right now you find yourself in a place where you see a situation or circumstances where you need to rise up. Take a few moments and ask God to give you His perspective, to align your heart with His, and to remember who He says you are. 

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

When we remember who we are in Christ, when we can grab hold of the reality that if we have surrendered our lives to Jesus – we are set free from the empty ways of life, and we have everything we need to rise up and defy the odds. Maybe there’s a situation right now that feels overwhelming, and you feel like an underdog. Take a minute and remembering who God is, ask Him to do what only He can do – and work through this situation in big ways. 

(Pause and give them a few moments to pray silently.) 

God can bring lasting change in our lives that goes far beyond our circumstances, and that change starts at the cross – but doesn’t end there. The power of the cross continues in our lives as we live out our faith each day. Let’s be people who turn to Him and His Word for motivation and inspiration, and let those things move us toward action. Let’s be people who are willing to trust Him, take bold steps, and follow Him wherever He may go. 

CLOSE IN PRAYER

By 0 Comments
Share
Avatar

Rob Chagdes

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 chagdeswrites@gmail.com

Reply your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*