Friday, March 30, 2012

Five Lessons from "The Hunger Games"

By Rev. Felicia Fox

Last night I took a bus full of teens to see The Hunger Games. Unless you have been living under a rock or in a cave for the last few weeks, I’m sure you have heard a ton about this movie. It may seem strange to some that I took the youth group to see the movie as a church event. I have read the books and even saw the movie before loading up the bus and taking my students. I have no regrets about taking the youth. In fact, I think there are many good lessons our teens need to hear from the movie.

1) Hope is stronger than fear. Many teenagers live in fear. They fear bullies, violence at school, losing homes because parents have lost jobs, being hungry when school is out and free lunches at school have stopped for the summer, or abuse at home. The Hunger Games show teens that they can live in a world of hope and they can even be agents of hope to those around them.

2) You don’t have to follow the status quo. Katniss Everdeen saw the injustice and the poverty around her and decided to take action. She wasn’t afraid to make a stand for what was right and make a difference. Katniss was a leader. Teens need to know that they can be leaders to and they have the power to change the world for better.

3) Be true to yourself. Peeta Mellark has one of the best quotes in The Hunger Games. He says, “Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games.” Peeta was willing to not compromise who he was. Teens need to know that they have a right to be who they are and to stand up for what they believe is right. The world could be a better place if more teens felt empowered to live out their convictions.

4) Caring for others doesn’t make you weak. Katniss loved people and showed it. We see this in all the relationships she has in the movie. She cares for her sister, Gale, Rue, and Peeta and her actions show it. Teens have a ton of friends but they don’t really have a lot of people they care about on a deeper level. Most teens don’t feel cared for on a deeper level. It is hard for teens to develop and be open to deep relationships. Katniss shows us that it is okay to have true relationships.

5) Heroes can be girls too. That’s a lesson I hope all of my youth last night picked up on. Even if we don’t want to admit it, we still live in a world where girls and women are often seen as weaker. As a female minister, I have firsthand experience with this. I’ve been told more than once that because of my gender God can’t use me. Both male and female teens need to see positive heroes of all shapes, ages, colors, and gender. They all need to know that they have the power to be a hero to someone and that God has created them the way they are on purpose.

As you hear the teens around you talking about The Hunger Games take time to bring up some of these lessons. Maybe this movie can be a conversation starter to talk about something more than surface level topics with your teens. Feel free to comment below. I would love to hear from you. “And may the odds be ever in your favor.”

Felicia Fox is the Minister of Youth and Children at First Baptist Church of Mount Olive, NC. This article originally appeared on her blog.

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