Brett.Ullman

Category - Canadian content

13 Reasons Why… Some thoughts

13 Reasons Why.

The New York Times best seller by young adult novel writer Jay Asher that came out way back in 2007 has sold over 3 million copies to date.

I read this book a few years ago and found it … I find it hard to find the correct word: riveting, eye opening, scary, sad, hopeless and yet necessary in bringing out a conversation we seem to refuse to want to talk about as a culture.

Since reading the book I have heard very little on this topic. No conversation on social media about it. No growth in conversations on the problems of suicide in our culture today. Then suddenly 13 Reasons Why is released on Netflix and presently I have had over 500 messages, emails and conversations from parents all over asking the simple question: “Should I let me kid watch this?” or “Should I watch this with my teenager?”

As a 45 year old I have watched thousands of hours of TV in my life. This would rank as the most powerful show I have ever watched. I have watched countless hours of mindless entertainment in those 45 years and this show WAS different.

It was different because it touched on so many topics: sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships, peer pressure, divorce, bullying, self-harm, isolation, loneliness, disconnection from adults, lack of supports and of course suicide.

If I had to give you a very quick review of this series I would say:


Everything Affects Everything

You are responsible for yourself

You are responsible for your actions

You are responsible when you do nothing

We need to start talking about all the stuff no-one wants to talk about

This show starts us talking….


“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

In almost every review I have read comments that this show is triggering. It shows too much for students, glamorizes suicide, over sexualized, too much language, and deals with too many issues. I would say that the show is a great conversation starter for people of all ages. It is raw and tough to watch.  The suicide scene was brutal and one of the hardest things I have ever watched on TV. Maybe the fact is that suicide is brutal for everyone and this scene is meant to bring that home.

I do find it hypocritical that people are upset at some of these topics in this show. I don’t see most people talking about triggering when there is self harm (including suicide) in music videos, TV shows, movies and much of todays music is laced with sex. Yet the scenes in this show are too much? Are teens not triggered daily by just being a teen in our modern day culture?

If we are going to say this is too much for students I don’t seem to see many people offering any better way to talk about these tough issues.

I wonder when is the right time?

What is the right way?

I find that this is one of the first things I have seen that has people (especially teens) talking about suicide amongst other issues. We cannot just go back to ignoring this conversation especially the conversation around suicide.

There is no place that is immune to this.

So here is the tough question.

How do you talk about a tough conversation without triggering people and increasing the risk of a suicide contagion and copycat behaviour?

I think we need to be honest where we presently sit as a society with this conversation. I think people are already triggered by this topic with or without this TV show. Do a quick google search:

Canadian Stats:

  • 22% of teens thought of suicide this year  (Click here for the article)

Myth: Young people rarely think about suicide.
Reality: Teens and suicide are more closely linked than adults might expect. In a survey of 15,000 grade 7 to 12 students in British Columbia, 34% knew of someone who had attempted or died by suicide; 16% had seriously considered suicide; 14% had made a suicide plan; 7% had made an attempt and 2% had required medical attention due to an attempt.
Canadian Mental Health Association (Click here for the article)

U.S. Stats

  • Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2015 CDC WISQARS)
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
  • Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7-12.
  • http://jasonfoundation.com/prp/facts/youth-suicide-statistics/

Parents are asking if we should watch this show with our kids but I cannot answer this for you. Will I be watching this with my Grade 9 daughter or my Grade 8 son? If they are interested – Yes. I will also NOT be showing either of them the suicide scene in the last episode. With that being said is this the first conversation I will have had with my children on conversations on these topics … no. These are conversations we have been having for years in our home. If the first time you talk about suicide, mental health issues, sex, drugs, bullying etc is this TV show then I would not suggest watching this show before you have conversations in your home about these tough topics.

You might need to check as a parent and see if they have already watched the show. Many parents who have emailed me have said my kid already watched the show what do I do now. If this is you then I would sit down and talk to them about the show. Ask their thoughts and feelings.

What did they like about the show?
Do they think that the show fairly represented current teen culture in High School?
What did they dislike about the show? If they have watched it I would highly suggest watching the 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons which is on Netflix as well. It is the cast & creators with conversation on all aspects of the movie and why they did the certain scenes like they did.

Be very direct with your kids and let them know that there is nothing in the world that could change how you love them. You want them to know that if they are ever struggling with these topics in this show that you hope they could come and talk to you. And then together you would look at getting supports in place for them (doctors, counselling etc).

I would also suggest you be really careful if your son/daughter is struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression, bullying etc. This show could act (I am not saying will) as something that might make suicide look like a good way out for their struggles they are having. If you were going to watch it I would suggest watching it with them.

If as a parents you are thinking “I have failed in these conversations” you can start having them now. Just to mention some of the main themes in the show again:

  1. Sex
  2. Multiple rape scenes
  3. Drug & Alcohol use and abuse
  4. Dating relationships
  5. Peer pressure
  6. Divorce
  7. Bullying
  8. Self-harm
  9. Isolation
  10. Loneliness
  11. Disconnection from adults
  12. Lack of supports
  13. and of course suicide

These are conversations that you need to be having in your home, school, and church environments.

Are there some things I wish this show had done better. Yes, for sure:

  1. I wish there was more shown on how to help people if they are struggling. What do you actually do if you are struggling (Talk to an adult you trust, medical doctor, counsellor etc) We need to talk about where we can turn for help. In my mental health talk called The Walking Wounded I talk about addressing tough issues like this from 3 fronts: Body (Doctor), Mind(Counsellor), and Soul. Each of these areas can be pursued simultaneously.
  2. They showed such a disconnected youth culture from parents, teachers and other adults. This is not always the case.

    In tone and style, it resembles a more serious, grimmer cousin of Freeform (formerly ABC Family) series like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Twisted.” Like them, it literalizes the idea that teenage life is a mystery, one that adults can’t hope to solve. (New York Times article)

  3. I did not like that they showed the physical scars from people struggling with Self Harm. As someone who speaks on this we do know that this is triggering for people who struggle.
  4. I don’t like the fact that with this story it seems that you can sort of reach out from the grave after suicide and take revenge on people. It did a good job of showing the destruction that suicide leaves with the friends and family who are left after a suicide.
  5. I wish that with all the pain they also showed that there is hope. There is always hope. You might not see it, but that also does not mean it is not there.
  6. I wish they had not been so graphic with the suicide. I think it is unnecessary and is the one major scene that might make people NOT watch a show that could have been for a larger audience if not for the graphic scene. I also realize that the brutality of the suicide was done for a reason to show … to show how brutal suicide is.

In my talks a line I use when speaking about suicide is:


Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem.


If you are having suicidal thoughts I beg you to do a few things

  1. Go tell an adult immediately. If that adult does not listen then tell another. Get parents and teachers and doctors and counsellors and any other people you trust surrounding you as you walk through these tough times
  2. Hold on.
    Dr. Dan Siegel says “We need to help children understand that the clouds 
of their emotions can (and will) roll on by.”
    What you are going through is a season … and seasons change.
    Please hold on.

In the last episode Clay Jensen (one of the main characters) says “We can all do better.” I agree.
So how can you do better?

I end with the simple summary I gave at the beginning

Everything Affects Everything

You are responsible for yourself

You are responsible for your actions

You are responsible when you do nothing

We need to start talking about all the stuff no-one wants to talk about.

This show starts us talking….

Love to hear what you thought of the TV show if you watched it? Did it help? Did it hurt?
Love to hear your thoughts on this.
Love to hear any great resources for people who are struggling.


13 Reasons Why Official Website
http://www.thirteenreasonswhy.com/

Other articles on 13 Reasons Why:

  1. http://www.altpress.com/news/entry/twlohas_founder_pens_blog_in_response_to_13_reasons_why
  2. https://cpyu.org/2017/04/17/13-reasons-why-looking-for-true-north/
  3. https://cpyu.org/resource/episode-36-13-reasons-why-a-discussion-with-amy-flavin-and-kara-twining/
  4. https://themighty.com/2017/04/should-i-watch-13-reasons-why-review-suicide/
  5. http://www.vox.com/culture/2017/4/18/15275846/13-reasons-why-male-gaze-voyeurism-rape-suicide-contagion
  6. http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/25/health/13-reasons-why-teen-suicide-debate-explainer/index.html
  7. https://www.nasponline.org/
  8. http://www.cmha.ca/news/cmha-national-statement-responding-netflix-series-13-reasons/#.WQPswUFE2Ef
  9. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/arts/television/netflix-13-reasons-why-tv-review.html
  10. http://www.pluggedin.ca/tv-reviews/13-reasons-why
  11. http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/13-reasons-why-criticism-1.4091960
  12. http://www.averageyouthministry.com/average-youth-ministry/13-reasons-why-youth-workers-must-be-at-the-top-of-their-game
  13. https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Differences-Between-13-Reasons-Why-Book-TV-Show-43404725

Leanne Cabral: update & opportunity for free speaking dates

Why hello there!

I am Leanne Cabral and I have been part of the WA team for about three years. My primary role is talking to parents about passing faith on to their kids, equipping them with practical tools, strategies and resources. I have been speaking on this subject for ten years, and partnering with Brett was a natural fit as my talks are like a prequel to his.

This past October, I released, A Parent’s Best Gift, a book written out of my own journey. As a young parent I was overwhelmed by the task of passing faith on to my kids. I understood the task in theory, but I couldn’t figure out how to practically do this in the chaos of everyday life.

This book addresses that struggle. It breaks down living out our faith before our kids in tangible ways — revealing a process, that equips parents with tools, strategies and activities that are simple, applicable and absolutely doable.

I would love an opportunity to talk with your community. This information changed the trajectory of our family and so many others. We found unexpected freedom, direction and the value of living life intentionally. I know your families will discover this too, as this magnificent task is broken down into manageable bites size pieces.

Here are some ways I can partner with what you are already doing.

  • Parent’s Night – I would love to speak to your families about intentional living and the value of creating a family mission statement.
  • Sunday Morning – While kids are in their programs and the other adults are in the service, we can have a Parent Talk morning, where I can equip parents with practical tools and resources to implement in their homes.
  • Parenting Workshop Weekend – We could do a workshop over a Friday evening and full day Saturday where parents will walk away with a 5 year plan to strategically build their family legacy of faith.
  • Mid Week Series – Perhaps meeting with your parents for 60-90 minutes as their kids are in mid week programs like Awana or Youth Group, would be a great fit for you. We can do a one night talk or a series.
  • Special Event – Maybe you have a group of families ready for a baby dedication, or a graduation or a baptism. I’d love to speak with them about celebrating these milestones and the opportunity to purposely build into their family legacy of faith.

Special Opportunity: I would love to add 7 more dates to my Spring/Fall calendar by giving away 7 free speaking dates. I only need my travel expense covered.

The Talks:

  1.  Embracing the Challenge
  2. Prayer
  3. Blessing
  4. Celebrating our Kids Rites of Passage
  5. Hearing God
  6. Spiritual Dynamics
  7. A Family who Serves Together
  8. Family Devotions
  9. Talking to our Kids about Sex
  10. Money Allowance and Tithing

Families are the microcosm of the Church and as healthy families chase hard after the things that matter most, it naturally flows over into our Churches.

Contact me today to begin the conversation…
leannecabral.com
leannecabral@icloud.com

How will Canadian Marijuana Legalization Affect Teens

Really great article from Ron Powell. We need to have these conversations in our homes, churches and youth groups.

CANADIAN STATISTICS

  • 79% of people in Alberta over the age of 15 drink to some extent.
  • 83% of grade 12 Ontario students admit to using alcohol
  • 49% of Ontario grade 12 students admit to binge drinking
  • Among Ontario grade 11 drinkers, 13 years was the average age of first exposure, and 14 years was the average age for first intoxication experience.

Click here for the entire article.

Side Note: This is a great blog to follow for parents and youth workers.

 

Theft is Theft is Theft. No excuses.

Ever have one of those weird conversations?

Last week I am having dinner with my family and the waitress asked if we had a Scene points card (movie rewards). We talked briefly as she scanned my card and she said we could also use the points for food. She then went on to say “Why would you pay for a movie anyway” and explained how she has one of those Android boxes at home and just streams movies for free. She said she just watched Lego Batman (which is still in the theatres) and then went on to talk about how much she loved Fifty Shades Darker (again still in theatres).

It seem everywhere I look I see people getting these Android boxes (and other versions of the same thing). Now people might not like my opinion on this but I want to ask …

When did downright theft become normal?

I have asked people who have these boxes how they justify NOT paying for current movies, TV etc. There responses are all very similar:

  1. People complain about how much the cable companies are making or that they are being forced to pay for channels they don’t want
  2. People tell me that they are not downloading movies (which is illegal in Canada) but streaming them
  3. People tell me that movies are too expensive
  4. People tell me that everyone is doing it
  5. People tell me that they just don’t care

None of these comments change the fact that you are NOT paying for something that people have created.

I love Marvel superhero movies. If you are a Marvel fan you know that if you want until all the credits are completed there will be a small bonus scene. Each time I wait for the end of the credits I am amazed at the hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of people who created the movie I just watched. The job these people have is to do something to support the creation of the movie you just watched.

In a quick search online I found this list (click here for the entire article):

It is a weird expectation that I see many people have today.
They want to see amazing movies with great affects but not pay for it.
They want great music but will not pay for an album or subscribe to a streaming service (Apple Music, Spotify etc)

When we just stream a movie and no money goes back to the people who created the movie what we will start to see is less movies being made. It is the same with music. If everyone just downloads free music and no money goes to the musicians then we can expect to see more artists leaving music. As someone who loves seeing what people create (movies, music, video games etc) I am happy to pay for their services.

We all need to work and make money to support our families.
Why do people in the entertainment industry matter less to us?

Upcoming Tour Dates in Victoria / Duncan, B.C.

Date: Wednesday, March 8th
Location: Pacific Christian School (654 Agnes St Victoria, BC)
10-11am (media.faith.culture)

Date: Wednesday, March 8th
Location: Lambrick Park Church (1780 Feltham Road, Victoria, BC)
7-9pm (Parents 101)

Date: Thursday, March 9th
Location: Glad Tidings Church (1800 Quadra St., Victoria, BC)
6:30-8:30 (Walking Wounded)

Date: Friday, March 10th
Location: Victoria Church of the Nazarene (4277 Quadra St., Victoria BC)
7-9pm (media.faith.culture)

Date: Saturday, March 11th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Oasis Church (3540 Auchinachie Road, Duncan, BC)
Equipping.ca Conference (Walking Wounded) 9-4:30

Date: Saturday, March 11th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Oasis Church (3540 Auchinachie Road, Duncan, BC)
7-9 (Parents 101)

Date: Sunday, March 12th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location:Oasis Church (3540 Auchinachie Road, Duncan, BC)
10:30 morning service (TBD)

 

Upcoming Tour Dates in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba

Saskatchewan

Date: Friday, Feb 10th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Regina Apostolic Church (808 Assiniboine Avenue E. Regina, SK)
Equipping Conference (http://equipping.ca)
Evening Parents night – 7pm (Parents 101)
This evening talk is not part of the Equipping Conference and all Parents are welcome.

Date: Saturday, Feb 11th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Regina Apostolic Church (808 Assiniboine Avenue E. Regina, SK)
Equipping Conference (http://equipping.ca)
Speaking in the afternoon of the equipping conference (Walking Wounded)

Date: Saturday, Feb 11th/Sunday Feb 12th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Regina Apostolic Church (808 Assiniboine Avenue E. Regina, SK)
Church Services (all 3) Saturday 7PM, Sunday 9AM & 11AM (Walking Wounded)

Date: Sunday Feb 12th
Location: Cornerstone Christian School (43 Iroquois St. E, Moose Jaw, SK)
7pm (Walking Wounded Talk)

Date: Sunday Feb 12th
Location: Cornerstone Christian School (43 Iroquois St. E, Moose Jaw, SK)
8:45: Students talk on media.faith.culture

New Brunswick

Date: Wednesday, Feb 15th
Location – Grace Church (41 Girouardville Road, Bouctouche, NB)
6:30 (Walking Wounded Talk)

Date: Thursday, Feb 16th
Location – Grace Church (41 Girouardville Road, Bouctouche, NB)
6:30 (media.faith.culture talk)

Date: Friday Feb 17th
Location: The Journey Church (Allison Campus, 1539 Salisbury Road, Moncton, NB)
6:30 media.faith.culture (students and parents)

Date: Sunday Feb 19th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Smythe Street Catherdral (913 Smythe Street, Fredericton, NB)
Both Sunday Services: 9am and 11am: Walking Wounded Talk

Date: Sunday Feb 19th
Location: The Journey Church (Allison Campus, 1539 Salisbury Road, Moncton, NB)
6:30 (Walking Wounded Talk)

Manitoba

Date: Wednesday, Feb 22nd
Location – Victory Family Church (127 4 Ave NE, Altona, MB)
7:00 (media.faith.culture talk) students and parents

Date: Thursday, Feb 23rd
Location – Grace Mennonite Church (1350 Pembina Avenue, Winkler, MB)
7:00pm (media.faith.culture talk) Parents/Leaders

Date: Friday Feb 24th (World Vision Sponsored Event))
Location: Zion Apostolic Church (305 Machray Avenue, Winnipeg, MB)
Equipping Conference (http://equipping.ca)
Equipping Conference: Evening Parents night – 7pm (Parents 101)
All parents / leaders welcome – no costs.

Date: Saturday, Feb 25th (World Vision Sponsored Event))
Location: Zion Apostolic Church (305 Machray Avenue, Winnipeg, MB)
Equipping Conference (http://equipping.ca)
Speaking in the afternoon of the equipping conference (Walking Wounded talk)

Date: Sunday Feb 26th (World Vision Sponsored Event))
Location: Zion Apostolic Church (305 Machray Avenue, Winnipeg, MB)
Speaking in the afternoon of the equipping conference (Walking Wounded talk)

Date: Sunday Feb 26th
Location: Calvary Temple (400 Hargrave Street, Winnipeg, MB )
media.faith.culture talk 6pm (Buntain Chapel)

If you are around please come out to these events. If you have any questions please just send me an email or a message.

Case for the filming of my new talk dating.for.life: the questions

To whom it may concern,

It was 1996 when I did my first talk at a church in Pickering to a room full of high school students. Talking about music and media and how our faith plays a role in this. 10 years later I found my self speaking 45 times per year while still teaching full time with the Toronto District School Board. I left teaching that year and have been speaking full time with Worlds Apart since then.

In his book Holy Discontent Bill Hybels talks about finding out what your Holy Discontent (those things that continuously bother you) are and to walk into that space. That has been the theme for all of my talks for 19 years. Every few years I would add a talk (Self Harm, dating, men, sex, mental health and most recently pornography.

In the last 3 years I have had the chance to film my talks on Mental Health (The Walking Wounded), my talk on sex for parents (The Sex Talk) and my talk on pornography (The Porn Project).

One of the things I hear nightly from students, parents and leaders is the conversation on dating. Questions like “How should a Christian date in these modern times?” are asked almost nightly to me.

I have an older talk called dating.for.life that I have now put on youtube (see entire presentation below)

It is a look at all aspect of dating. It has been about 8-9 years since I created this presentation and I found myself needing to update that talk. I have a new version of my dating talk called dating.for.life: the questions. It basically goes over 8 main questions:

  1. What is dating?
  2. When should I start dating?
  3. Am I ready to start dating?
  4. How do I start dating?
  5. What are Red Flags in my dating relationships?
  6. How do I find out if they are the “One”?
  7. How do I break up?
  8. What if they are the right person for me?

As a speaker I am able to speak about 150 times a year. I am unable to speak at every church and school in the country. My filmed talks are being used in churches from California to England, from Vancouver to St. Johns. I receive emails from people using the DVD or Digital downloads to help equip people in their churches, camps and families to help people with mental health struggles, conversations on sex and helping equip parents and leaders in this tough conversation on pornography. This is the same I want to do with my new dating.for.life – the questions talk.

To do this project we are looking at raising $8,500

$5500 for filming and editing of the talk. It is the editing of the talk that is so time consuming as we need to incorporate a professionally designed Keynote presentation throughout the filmed talk. It gives people the same experience as if I was speaking live at their church or school. This includes a trailer for promotion.

$1000 – Creating Master copy of DVD, Creation of Graphics for DVD jacket and cover.

$2000 – printing of 1500 DVD’s.  The Talk is also put online on VimeoOnDemand.com

Total funds – $8500

We find as a small non for profit it is hard to raise funds. We are cut out of applying for most grants from foundations as we don’t reach their $250k minimum income. We are not looking at raising funds for day to day operations but raising the funds specifically for this project.

If you would like to chat please contact me at the email below. If you would like to make a donation please follow this link – https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/15850

Thanks for your consideration.

Executive Director
Worlds Apart (worldsapart.org)
Brett Ullman

brett@brettullman.com

 

Update: The Porn Project: Now Available on DVD or Digitally

I am so excited to announce that my talk “The Porn Project” is now available for Digital Download.

Please click here to buy or rent this talk.

Click Here to buy the DVD.

Tons of resources from the talk available here.

I would love to come and speak this talk to your church, camp, school or conference.

Trailer:

 

 

 

Alberta Tour!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years. If you live in Alberta I will be out your way for an entire week in Jan. Below are the speaking dates, locations, times and which talks I will be doing. Love to have you out.

Date: Saturday Jan 14th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Falconridge Family Church(155 Falconridge Cres. N.E. Calgary, AB)
Equipping Conference (http://equipping.ca)
Afternoon Session: 3-4pm (Walking Wounded)
Evening Parents night – 7pm (Parents 101)
This evening talk is not part of the Equipping Conference and all Parents are welcome.

Date: Sunday Jan 15th (World Vision Sponsored service)
Location: Falconridge Family Church(155 Falconridge Cres. N.E. Calgary, AB)
Sunday Service – 10am (media.faith.culture talk for parents and students)

Date: Monday Jan 16th
Location – St Joseph School (3804 47 St, Whitecourt, AB)
1:40 pm Walking Wounded talk
Location: Whitecourt Baptist Church (6240 47 ST, Whitecourt, AB)
7pm Walking Wounded talk

Date: Tuesday Jan 17th
Location: Mill Woods Assembly (2225 66 St NW, Edmonton)
6:30 media.faith.culture (students and parents)

Date: Wednesday Jan 18th
Location: Mill Woods Assembly (2225 66 St NW, Edmonton)
Men’s Wing Night
7PM The Man Talk (to register)

Date: Thursday Jan 19th
Location: Bethel Church (5410  53 Ave. Barrhead, AB)
7pm The Man Talk

Date: Friday Jan 20th 
Location: McKenzie Towne Church (7 Mckenzie Towne Gate SE)
7pm The Porn Project (Parents, leaders)

Date: Sat. Jan 21st 
LocationRichmond Hill Baptist Church (7251 Sierra Morena Blvd. SW)
CYW Fuel: Calgary
Walking Wounded & The Porn Project

If you are around please come out to these events. For both the Equipping Conference and the CYW Fuel Conference you will need to get tickets. If you have any questions please just send me an email or a message.