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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310241386
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 01/28/2002
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 8.56(w) x 10.98(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Dan Jessup is Regional Director for Young Life in the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado, Adjunct Professor for Fuller Seminary, and a member of the Youth Specialties THE CORE training team. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Helen Musick taught Youth Ministry at Asbury Seminary and was a member of Youth Specialties Core team for years. She now serves as Transformation Pastor at Quest Community Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

Crystal Kirgiss teaches writing at Purdue University and is the author or co-author of more than ten books, including What's Up With Boys?, Sex Has A Pricetag, Girls, Guys, and A Teenager's Daily Prayer Book. She's been married to Mark, a Young Life area director, for 25 years and they have three college-aged sons. Crystal also writes the monthly 'Guys' and 'Girls' columns for YouthWalk magazine.

Read an Excerpt


10 Fearless, Faith-Focused Sessions on Issues That Matter to Guys
By Dan Jessup Helen Musick Crystal Kirgiss


Copyright © 2002 Zondervan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-24138-3

Chapter One

GUYS Your Outer Self How the world defines you


Though the world pays lip service to the concept of guys "getting in touch with their emotions," the fact remains that guys in general are encouraged to be rough, tough, macho, and even sexist. Christian guys need to recognize the difference between being tough and being strong.

introduction Delvin' In

Check out the psychology and parenting sections next time you're in a bookstore and you'll find countless books written on the perils of being a teenage girl. Unrealistic definitions of beauty. Unrealistic expectations of body size and shape. Unrealistic guidelines for success. Valid issues, all of them.

But what about being a teenage boy-does it carry its own and equally lethal doses of false messages and unrealistic expectations? And if so, does the resulting sense of inadequacy felt by many teen guys need to be addressed?


Our culture says guys must be buff, must be athletic, must cause the girls to swoon, must not be weak, must not let anyone walk on them, must aggressively pursue goals, must conquer a female, must be tough.

It takes a lot of courage to stand firm against false and shallow definitions of success, masculinity, and power, especially now when teens are constantly in touch with our culture through the entertainment media and the Internet. Whether they realize it or not, our culture's standard of manhood gets about a thousand times more of their attention than God's standard. In order to help teen guys pursue a life of authentic manhood, they must first identify and recognize our culture's false definition of manhood. In this case, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is a world full of self-centered, egotistical, macho tough guys.

opening activity Warmin' Up

Who Am I?

Write the names of well-known males on the index cards-one name on each card. You can use athletes, musicians, actors, politicians, authors, local celebrities. The names should all be familiar to your guys. If you have a group of five or less, have one teen come to the front. Then tape one name card on the wall behind him so that the others can see it but he can't. Explain the activity like this-

The card I just hung up has the name of a famous male on it. [Name of teen] has to figure out whose name is on the card. He may only ask yes-or-no questions. He can direct his questions to the entire group or to any individual in the group. His goal is to name the person in as few questions as possible.

You'll need-

Index cards or small pieces of paper

Masking tape



If the student up front is having a hard time even after asking a number of questions, give a leading hint like, "This person is a musician" or "This person died about 10 years ago." Give a helpful hint but don't make it too specific.

If you have a group of six or more, tape an index card with a name written on it onto the back of each guy. Then give an explanation like this-

Each of you has the name of a famous male taped on your back. It's your job to figure out who he is by asking each other yes-or-no questions. For example, you can ask, "Is my person an athlete?" but you may not ask, "What kind of work does he do?" Once you've asked one question, you can answer one question. Then you have to move to a different person.

Let the students mingle for several minutes while asking questions. When each person has figured out his name (or after 10 minutes), pull your group together and ask questions like these.

* What kind of questions were most helpful in identifying your person (questions about occupation? appearance? age?)?

* What makes your person famous?

* What do you admire about your person?

* If your person is well-liked, what do you think draws people to him?

exploring the topic Diggin 'a Little Deeper

Transition with something like this-

One of the main ways we identify people is by appearance and by occupation. Almost everyone knows the name of the most recent winning quarterback of the Super Bowl. Far fewer know who discovered the polio vaccine.

What makes some people famous and others unknown? In the case of women, the world usually worships beauty over individuality. "She's a brilliant politician, but she's not much to look at." Ever heard something like that before? In the case of men, one of the fame factors is toughness. "Did you see him take down those two defensive linemen even though he's playing with a broken hand?"

The world's idea of what makes a man valuable is shallow: How much money does he make? How many coworkers can he step on as he climbs the ladder to success? Can he take care of himself in a fight? Can he survive difficult situations without looking weak, showing fear, or-worst of all-shedding tears?

Let's take a look at how the world identifies and defines men.

Choose one or more of the following activities.

option [group activity] Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who's the Toughest of Them All?

You'll need

* A stack of recent newspaper

* Copies of Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who's the Thoughest of Them All? (page 20). One for each group

* Pens

Divide your guys into groups of three or four. Explain to them that you're going to take a look at how the world portrays men. Hand out several newspaper sections, pens, and one copy of Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who's the Toughest of Them All? (page 20) to each group. Give them about 10 minutes to look through the papers (encourage them to look through a variety of sections, not just sports or entertainment) and fill out the worksheet as a group. When the groups have their lists made, come together and discuss the results with some questions.

* Based on what you observed, what are the characteristics our culture admires or glorifies in men? Explain.

* If someone doesn't have those characteristics, how is he perceived? Talk about that.

* What characteristics define toughness besides the physical aspects?

* Think of a man you admire who is not a tough guy (as our culture defines it). Why do you admire him?

option [video clip discussion] Billy Madison

Show the clip from Billy Madison where Billy tries to fit in and make his mark as a smooth dude on his first day of high school.

0:54:55 Billy pulls up to the school in his sportster.

0:57:19 "Are you in loser denial or something?" [warning: bad language follows quickly-you may want to have your finger on the stop button]

Ask questions like these-

* Why do you think guys care about the tough-guy, macho image so much?

* Do you think guys are better off being themselves (even if others view them as losers, wimps, or thumbs-down guys) or acting tough and macho, no matter what? Talk about that.

* Why are some guys so cruel to others whom they think are weak? Explain.

It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. -from Ephesians 2, The Message

option [second video clip discussion] Commercial Break


This takes some prep time. It's easy to do, but don't delay!

You'll need-

Taped commercials (see instructions below)

TV and VCR

During the week, make a video recording of "guy" commercials. The best time to do this is during sporting events and cop shows. (Sounds sexist, but hey, that's the Madison Avenue way.) Try to capture a variety of guy personalities-tough, goofy, comedic, professional, intelligent. Record 10 to 15 ads.

Introduce the activity with a comment like this-

One of the ways our thinking about being a guy is influenced is from the entertainment media, especially television. We're going to watch some commercials that feature guys in a variety of situations and then figure out what they say about us as men.

Play the tape. Then ask some of these questions.

* Describe the different kinds of men in the ads.

* How accurately do they represent real men? Explain your thinking.

* How did the tough guys act? The nerdy guys? The married guys? The stupid guys? The sexist guys?

* Did any of the ads create a feeling of genuine respect for men? Which ones and why?

* How do you think the idea that guys should be tough began? Talk about that.

option [individual activity] Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

You'll need-

Copies of Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down (page 21), one for each student

Give each guy a copy of Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down (page 21) and a pen. For the Thumbs Up side, your kids describe the perfect guy according to our culture, including physical, intellectual, and behavioral traits. For the Thumbs Down side, they describe the traits of a loser as seen by our culture.

When they've finished, ask for some volunteers to share their answers. Then discuss some of the following questions.

* Do most people buy into our culture's definitions of a perfect guy and a loser? Why do you think that?

* If someone wants to be "perfect," how does this affect his actions, personality, and decisions? Talk about your thoughts.

* If people see a guy as a loser, how is his life affected? Give some examples (without naming names).

* Think of someone who ignores the world's message about male identity. He's confident and content with himself. But according to the world, he's closer to the "loser" profile than the "perfect" profile. How do you think he deals with life, with the way others view him, and with the way others treat him? Explain.

option [second individual activity] Tough as Nails, Strong as Steel

You'll need-

Copies of Tough as Nails, Strong as Steel (page 22), one for each student



Each student needs a copy of Tough as Nails, Strong as Steel (page 22), a Bible, and a pen. Open with a few comments.

There are many different ways to describe men. You've probably heard "tough as nails" and "strong as steel." They sound the same, but they're really very different. "Tough as nails" men do exactly what their title says-they pound into, pierce, and wound others with their words and actions. They try to prove that they're tough by hurting others. What they're really doing, though, is trying to feel better about themselves-hiding their weaknesses, their insecurities, their fears-by harassing or dominating others, male or female. The only way they know how to move up in the world is by taking others down.

"Strong as steel" men are just the opposite. Steel is used to construct buildings because it doesn't weaken under pressure. It doesn't bend. It doesn't twist. It remains constant under all conditions. Because of that, the building is strong.

Tough guys tear other people down. Strong men support others. Tough guys delight in another's failure. Strong men delight in another's success. Tough guys want to rise to the top and be noticed. Strong men are content to be part of the whole (often unseen), holding things together with their sturdy commitment.

Give your teens several minutes to look up the Bible verses and think about the differences between tough guys and strong men. Then ask some follow-up questions.

* Do you agree with the definitions of tough guy and strong men on your handout? Explain your thoughts.

* How do you think tough guys feel about themselves? Explain.

* Are strong men noticed or appreciated by others? Talk about that.

* What kind of man does our culture prefer? Explain why you think so.

* What kind of man does God prefer? Explain why you think so.

* What other examples of tough guys and strong men can you identify from the Bible?

Bible study Gettin' into the Word

You'll need-


King Saul and King David 1 Samuel, selected verses

Transition into the next activity by saying something like this.

For whatever reason, the world seems to think that tough guys are all that. The combination of looks, physical strength, and machismo seems to captivate people. In the short run, many tough guys come out ahead. Since we're a society that's all about immediate gratification, it's easy to do the tough-guy thing without thinking about the long-range consequences. We're going to look at a tough guy from the Bible to see how things worked out for him

Nudgers (nuj'erz) n. a tool used to gently push teens toward new insight

* Saul's father was well known.

* David's father was not well known.

* Saul was considered impressive because of his physical appearance, in particular his height.

* David was not tall.

* Saul was a warrior and king.

* David was a shepherd, a lowly occupation.

* Saul's courage was based on himself and was a cover for a lack of character.

* David's courage was based on God's strength and was genuine.

* Saul, the mighty warrior, watched while David, the shepherd boy, killed Goliath.

* Saul's contribution to the heroic event? The offer of a free armor loan.

Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. "Am I a dog," he roared at David, "that you come at me with a stick?" And he cursed David by the names of his gods. "Come over here, and I'll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!" -1 Samuel 17:41-44, NLT

Have your students read the following verses.

Saul 1 Samuel 9:1-2; 10:1, 23; 15:17, 30
David 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-12; 17:1-7, 32-33, 38-50

Then discuss the following questions.


Excerpted from Guys by Dan Jessup Helen Musick Crystal Kirgiss Copyright © 2002 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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